Portland had better hope they’ve seen the last of the rioters. Their trained unit for dealing with crowd control refused that assignment en masse after prosecutors indicted an officer with fourth-degree assault stemming from an August 2020 incident. The police union called the prosecution “politically driven”:
All members of the crowd control team of Portland police have resigned from their positions in the unit after an officer was indicted on an assault charge stemming from alleged illegal use of force during a protest last year.
“On June 16, 2021, Portland Police Bureau employees serving as members of the Rapid Response Team (RRT) left their voluntary positions and no longer comprise a team”, Portland Police said in a statement on Thursday, adding that the employees will continue in their regular assignments. …
Portland Police Bureau Officer Corey Budworth was indicted on Tuesday with one count of fourth-degree assault, a misdemeanor, stemming from the August 2020 incident, the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office said.
The indictment marked the first time a Portland police officer faced prosecution stemming from striking or firing at someone during a protest, according to the Oregonian newspaper.
That stands in stark contrast to the refusal of prosecutors in Portland and Multnomah County to press charges against the rioters. The decision to indict an officer while refusing to hold rioters accountable is the “last straw,” The Oregonian reports, more than a little disingenuously when it comes to why:
A team lieutenant called Chief Chuck Lovell to inform him Wednesday night after members of the team, who volunteer for the assignment, voted to resign due to perceived lack of support from City Hall and from the district attorney over the past year during more than 100 consecutive nights of protest coverage. The indictment of one of the team’s officers appeared to be the last straw.
“Have I ever seen anything like this in my career? No, I don’t think any of us have,” said Deputy Chief Chris Davis, serving Thursday as acting chief while Lovell is out of state for a week in St. Augustine, Florida, for training. …
The team’s use of force has led to multiple civil lawsuits in state and federal court, sanctions from a judge and now an indictment. Aside from the Oregon State Police, few outside police agencies in the past year were willing to assist Portland in protest coverage.
The Oregonian implies here that other agencies refused to work in Portland because of the use-of-force complaints. That’s not just inaccurate, it’s flat-out false. The neighboring law-enforcement agencies refused to police Portland because prosecutors refused to maintain charges against the rioters, a point they made clear at the time:
These are incredibly challenging times in Oregon and throughout our Country. Law Enforcement has clearly heard and recognizes the need to make improvements to ensure it is meeting the needs of all communities it serves. With that said, abandoning Law Enforcement or the need for policing, is not working. It has only shown that it undermines the rule of law and puts our community at greater risk.
Over the weekend, members of our associations were approached to assist with policing in the City of Portland. Unfortunately, due to the lack of support for public safety operations, the associated liability to agencies who would be assisting in Portland and the lack of accountability for those arrested committing criminal acts, we cannot dedicate our limited resources away from the communities we serve.
How did Portland and Multnomah County respond? By dismissing charges against even more rioters. Instead of prosecuting the people who spent months rampaging and pillaging Portland, prosecutors instead want to indict and try one of the few people in Multnomah County that tried to stand up to the rioters for using his baton. If the officer broke the law, then that makes sense — but only if prosecutors are willing to charge and try everyone who breaks the law.
Small wonder this unit no longer is willing to serve on the front lines against the vandals. The police department followed this up by reminding everyone that they still can assign any officer to this duty, whether they volunteer for it or not. If they try it, though, the city might find itself without a police force at all. It sounds like the union has had enough of Ted Wheeler, the Portland city council, and especially its politically driven prosecutors. And for good reason.