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The entire Portland Police Bureau Rapid Response Team (AKA, the “riot squad”) resigned Wednesday night, protesting the indictment of one of their members for pushing with his department-issued baton a rioter who was also acting as a photographer. Rebecca Ellis and Ryan Haas of Oregon Public Broadcasting report:
All of the officers, sergeants and detectives with the Portland Police Bureau’s Rapid Response Team — the unit responsible for policing protests in the city — resigned from the team together Wednesday night.
Police bureau officials called the move unprecedented.
The resignations from the unit came after news this week that one member of the team, Officer Corey Budworth, would face criminal charges for excessive force used during a racial justice protest last year, and that a second Rapid Response Team member, Det. Erik Kammerer, is being investigated by the Oregon Department of Justice on similar allegations.
The former members of the squad will continue their other police duties but will no longer be available to be deployed in response to riots and other urgent needs.
The acting chief is technically correct, but as Katie Daviscourt notes, writing in the Post Millennial:
“Now that the riot team is no more, we have no clue what’s going to happen. We don’t have enough patrol officers to be pulled from the road to handle huge crowds,” a Portland police officer said. “We are only backups with no gear like the riot team has.”
This is ahead of massive demonstrations and protests that are planned for this upcoming weekend.
You can watch the incident that led to the indictment here:
— Ivy_PDX (@Ivy_PDX) August 19, 2020
Whatever your judgment on the legality, it is clear that Officer Budworth used the side of his baton to push the demonstrator as she appeared to be getting up and moving in his direction. A voice that may or may not be hers shouts, “F— you, you faggot” immediately afterward.
The Police Union issued a lengthy statement (worth reading in its entirety) that included this point:
“Reasonably believing that she was getting back up to re-engage in her unlawful activities, Officer Budworth employed one last baton push to try to keep her on the ground, which accidentally struck Ms. Jacobs in the head[.]”
The Post Millennial also points out the context of the action:
On the night of August 18, 2020, Antifa militants threw a Molotov cocktail into the County Sheriff’s Department Headquarters as the Rapid Response Team struggled to contain the riot.
The incident also occurred after “nearly 75 consecutive nights of violence, destruction, and mayhem,” as the union pointed out.
The U.K. Daily Mail reports that the demonstrator struck with the baton, Teri Jacobs, has received a large cash settlement from the city:
Jacobs says she was attacked despite carrying a press card. She was not charged with any crime, and received a $50,000 settlement from the City of Portland as a result of the baton strike. Cops have continued to insist she was part of a riot which set the a government building alight with a petrol bomb. (snip)
Jacobs sued Budworth in September for excessive force, claiming that he, ‘swung his truncheon like a baseball bat at Ms. Jacobs, striking her several times,’ according to a copy of the suit obtained by the Wilamette Week.
‘As Ms. Jacobs was knocked to the ground, she was terrified that the officer was going continue to attack her, and she feared that she might never get up again if he continued with his violent attack,’ the complaint continued.
The city reached a $50,000 settlement, with Jacobs in February, in addition to $11,000 in attorney fees.
Schmidt’s office said it had learned of Jacob’s identity when she filed the suit.
Sharing her version of events with KATU in April, Jacobs said: ‘I’m doing my very best to get to the sidewalk, and it feels like it doesn’t matter where I am, what I do, these police officers are going to run me over, ram into me.
‘I really wasn’t aware of what was happening or the pain that I was in until I was on the sidewalk, and then I realized like, whoa, my back, my head, like what just happened there.’
She said she was trying to help a friend lying on the road when she was struck, and added that her camera was smashed during the incident.
Jacobs Facebook profile includes a photo of a group of black-clad people giving the finger to a passing vehicle that is blurred, in front of a boarded up building.
She also shared photos of herself protesting on her Instagram page, captioning one snap: ‘This is America. Stop attacking your own people and leave Portland. Remember the oath you took, to support and defend the constitution of the United States of America. Feds, go home!’
D.A. Mike Schmidt, who brought the indictment, was elected with left-wing support, but no Soros money was involved.
Schmidt promised to never seek the death penalty, oppose Oregon’s harsh Measure 11 mandatory minimum sentencing laws, and create a community oversight board.
Nationally, Schmidt was able to garner support from Shaun King’s Real Justice PAC, as well as R&B superstar John Legend. The latter tweeted out candidate report cards created by Oregon DA For The People, a local grassroots coalition of civil rights groups and concerned residents that had long been pushing for a progressive top prosecutor.
He has already gone very easy on rioters, according to the P.M.:
In October, County District Attorney Mike Schmidt rejected over 540 riot related cases in “interest of justice” and has implemented catch-and-release policies for accused criminals and rioters.
According to OPB:
Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt said his office was still reviewing other use of force cases by officers related to protests, leaving the door open for further criminal prosecutions against RRT members.
The Portland and Multnomah County voters will soon get a taste of what lies ahead when rioters act in large numbers. My guess is that the National Guard will be called up, a time-consuming measure that deploys forces with less training in crowd control than the Rapid Response Squad enjoyed.