By Katabelle Roberts
The entire Portland Police Bureau’s Rapid Response Team (RRT) has left their voluntary positions after an officer was indicted on a protest assault charge.
The team, which is responsible for providing public safety at crowd events when there was a threat of harm to the community, consisted of approximately 50 officers, all of whom resigned on June 16, the bureau announced.
Despite no longer serving as volunteers with RRT, the officers will continue with their regular assignments, the bureau said.
It comes just a day after Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt announced his team had indicted one member, Officer Corey Budworth, on one count of fourth-degree assault for physically injuring someone during an Aug. 18, 2020, protest.
“In this case, we allege that no legal justification existed for Officer Budworth’s deployment of force, and that the deployment of force was legally excessive under the circumstances,” Schmidt said in a statement on Tuesday. “My office will continue to do everything we can to ensure justice is done without error or delay and that we make sure our work and practices are rooted in fairness and equity.”
Schmidt noted that other use-of-force incidents are still under review and that his office has referred an investigation into Portland Police Det. Erik Kammerer’s use of force during protests to the Oregon State Department of Justice for review.
The indictment marks the first time a Portland police officer has faced prosecution for striking or firing at someone during a protest, according to The Oregonian.
Budworth was assigned to the Portland Police Bureau’s Rapid Response Team at the time of the alleged assault and prosecutors allege he used an “excessive and unlawful use of force” when he struck activist photographer Teri Jacobs in the head with a baton during a demonstration outside the Multnomah Building.
Multiple videos posted to social media show an officer, identified as Budworth, running after Jacobs and hitting her once in the head from behind, and then hitting her head again after she falls to the ground.
The Portland Police Association claim that Ms. Jacobs fell to the ground and that officer Bedworth had reason to believe she was getting back up to re-engage in her unlawful activities.
“Officer Budworth employed one last baton push to try and keep her on the ground, which accidentally struck Ms. Jacobs in the head. The location of Officer Budworth’s last baton push was accidental, not criminal,” they said in a statement on Wednesday.
“He faced a violent and chaotic, rapidly evolving situation, and he used the lowest level of baton force—a push; not a strike or a jab—to remove Ms. Jacobs from the area.”
However, in February, the city agreed to a $50,000 civil settlement for Jacobs in the case.
The Portland Police Bureau placed Budworth on administrative leave Tuesday, officials said.
“Unfortunately, this decorated public servant has been caught in the crossfire of agenda-driven city leaders and a politicized criminal justice system,” the Portland Police Association said in their statement on Wednesday.
“It is also important to know that Officer Corey Budworth is a committed public servant of the highest integrity. He has spent four of his six years as a PPB officer as a highly trained member of PPB’s Rapid Response Team (RRT). In his service with RRT and his deployment at hundreds of protests and demonstrations, Officer Budworth has never faced any sustained force complaints,” they added.
Portland has dealt with unrest—as riots have regularly taken place—since the spring of 2020. Some of the people who have committed crimes are members of the far-left, anarcho-communist Antifa network. Others have identified as Black Lives Matter activists.
Portlanders who spoke to The Epoch Times anonymously said that the violence is becoming worse and is unacceptable, despite being largely underreported by mainstream media.
One 44-year-old man who lives in a Portland suburb said, “There are brazen shootings and killings in broad daylight which did not happen before this past year. The violence is no longer limited to nights or certain neighborhoods.”
Another 64-year-old woman who works in the information technology field said that companies are also struggling to recruit new employees because Portland is now being perceived as dangerous.
Last week, the Portland Police Association announced it was relocating its headquarters because of repeated attacks by rioters, including members of the far-left network Antifa.
The Epoch Times has reached out to the Portland Police Bureau for comment.