Portland‘s 50-person riot squad resigned in protest Wednesday in solidarity with one of their colleagues indicted for striking a photographer they claim was a rioter.
The resignations were effective immediately, according to the Portland Police Bureau, and come after the indictment on Tuesday of Officer Corey Budworth, for assault during and incident in which he allegedly struck photographer Teri Jacobs in the head during a riot last August.
‘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 a statement Tuesday.
Video of the incident was shared on social media, in which Budworth appears to push the photographer, who has been identified as Jacobs, an activist, and then striking her in the head with his baton.
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.
Portland’s entire riot squad has resigned after Officer Corey Budd was filmed hitting protester Teri Jacobs, pictured, with a baton last August
Cops are pictured tackling a rioter in Portland on August 2018. That was the night Officer Corey Budworth struck Teri Jacobs with a baton – an incident he has now been indicted for
The officers from the Rapid Response Team, which is equipped to handle riots, will remain employed in the Portland Police Department, the PPB said, but would no longer be a part of the team.
It is not clear how the resignation’s would affect the department’s effectiveness during riots, with the Oregon city experiencing nightly unrest in its downtown district for the last year.
‘Under the cover of darkness, a group of 200 demonstrators, many equipped with tactical helmets, faces covered, and armed with a variety of weapons, sparked a night of violence. Multiple dumpsters were set on fire, buildings were defaced, and windows were broken.’ the Portland Police Association said, giving its version of the events of Aug. 18 when the assault allegedly occurred.
Eventually, the event escalated and was declared a riot.
Cops are pictured apprehending another protester during a free speech protest in Portland in June 2017
‘After nearly 75 consecutive nights of violence, destruction, and mayhem, a small group of RRT (Rapid Response Team) officers—including Officer Budworth—were again tasked with dealing with the riot,’ the description continued. ‘Per PPB Command Staff orders, RRT officers cleared the rioters from the area to allow the Fire Bureau to extinguish the blaze. But the rioters were not satisfied.’
‘RRT was again deployed to disperse the crowd and prevent any further violence and criminal activity. A confrontation then ensued. As RRT officers worked to clear the rioting crowd, Officer Budworth was forcefully knocked to the ground. The crowd grew even more aggressive, prompting other RRT officers to deploy pepper spray and less lethal munitions to try and break up the riot.’
The union said an officer then attempted to arrest one of the rioters, when others began to interfere.
‘Per his training and in response to the active aggression of a rioter interfering with a lawful arrest, Officer Budworth used baton pushes to move a rioter, now known to be Teri Jacobs, out of the area. As Officer Budworth cleared Ms. Jacobs from the area to stop her criminal activity, Ms. Jacobs fell to the ground,’ the union continued.
‘Reasonably believing that 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.’
Portland’s police union insists Jacobs, pictured, was a rioter. She was not charged with any crime, and was awarded a $50,000 settlement by the City of Portland
The PPA said Budworth’s indictment by Multnomah District Attorney Mike Schmidt ignored the reality of the chaotic situation.
‘We ask our community to wait for all the facts before passing judgment. We trust in our criminal justice system when the system fairly and objectively applies the rule of law,’ the statement continued. ‘Once the full picture is revealed, we are confident that justice will prevail, and Officer Budworth will be exonerated of all charges.’
Schmidt’s office released a statement on Thursday in response to the resignations.
‘Management and staffing of the Rapid Response Team falls within the purview of the leadership of the Portland Police Bureau. I have confidence that the Bureau will continue their mission to maintain public safety. In the meantime, my office will continue to focus on the fair and just prosecution of criminal matters. We cannot expect the community to trust law enforcement if we hold ourselves to a lower standard.’
In addition to the criminal charge against Budworth, 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!’
The incident occurred amid sustained protests in the city following the Memorial Day killing of George Floyd.
From June through July there were protests virtually every day in the city, with tens of thousands of demonstrators, some of whom identified themselves as members of ANTIFA.
More recently, in February around 150 suspected members of the violent anti-fascist group took part in a protest against President Joe Biden’s immigration policies, vandalizing several businesses including a Starbucks, Chipotle, Umpqua Bank and Urban Pantry.
Last month two groups of radical protesters, who have throughout the past year represented Antifa and other far-left causes, were armed with weapons, body armor, shields and flares and marched throughout parts of the city.
The riots came as violent skirmishes occurred worldwide during so-called ‘May Day’ protests in favor of worker’s rights – but that descended into anarchist free-for-alls