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Portland Riots: After an officer was indicted, a member of the police crowd-control squad resigned

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Portland Riots

After riot squad resignations, the Portland Police Union rants against the ‘defund police’ commissioner: The head of the Portland police union retaliated against new criticism from City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty – who has spearheaded the local anti-police movement – over the recent resignation of all 50 members of the police riot squad, claiming that her self-serving agenda promotes violence “instead of defending our communities and the business owners whose livelihoods were destroyed by the riots.”

Portland Riots: After an officer was indicted, a member of the police crowd-control squad resigned

Portland Riots

In a statement released Friday, Portland Police Association Executive Director Daryl Turner said that “Hundreds of thousands of Portland homeowners and business owners want a safe and clean city, not roving gangs of black-clad rioters. Nonetheless, local officials backed them up.”

He went on to say, “These rioters, bent on destruction, hijacked social and racial justice causes,” before addressing Hardesty directly. “Our city was burnt and looted by these rioters. Nonetheless, local officials backed them up.”

“Rather of recognizing the importance of public safety, peace, and order, Commissioner Hardesty has taken advantage of the opportunity to promote a self-serving, anti-police, anti-public safety agenda,” Turner stated. “She continues to condone violence rather than defending our communities and the business owners whose livelihoods were damaged by the riots. Simply put, Portlanders want their city back.”

Portland Riots News Update

Officer Corey Budworth was indicted last week for allegedly hitting a photographer with his police-issued baton during a brawl outside the Multnomah Building last August, prompting members of the Portland Police Bureau’s Rapid Response Team (RRT) to quit from their voluntary roles. Those 50 officers keep their other jobs and continue to work for the police department.

Hardesty has now called on Mayor Ted Wheeler and the City Council of Portland to formally dismantle the riot squad, claiming that “these RRT resignations are simply another evidence of a rogue paramilitary force that is unaccountable to elected officials and people of Portland.”

“Earlier this week, an officer from PPB’s Rapid Response Team was charged with a misdemeanor for hitting a photojournalist during a demonstration last summer for the first time in Portland’s history,” Hardesty said in a statement Thursday. “Ironically, we now witness some PPB policemen partaking in the act they despised last summer by holding their own demonstration,” says the author.

“The disbanding of PPB’s Rapid Response Team was an explicit demand from the local racial justice movement. I advocated disbanding RRT last fall based on RTT’s inability to effectively de-escalate the crisis on our streets last summer, but the majority of the council wasn’t ready to commit to a fundamental rethinking of our community safety mechanisms “Hardesty said. “Now is our chance to demonstrate what crowd management and de-escalation look like in policing without RRT – but it’s important to remember that Council and the mayor have the authority and obligation to decide what steps police do in the future. The RRT should be formally disbanded, but only by Council action.”

Since George Floyd’s death, Portland has seen more than 150 days of frequently violent protests. Officers who volunteered to serve on the RRT were given “specialist training to manage crowd and protest situations safely and effectively with as little force as possible,” according to Turner.

“Our Rapid Response Team members, on the other hand, did not volunteer to be pelted with Molotov cocktails, fireworks, explosives, rocks, bottles, urine, dung, and other deadly materials,” Turner stated. “Neither did they volunteer to be threatened with rape, death, or violence on their families.”

Portland Riots, RRT members did not agree to “suffer serious injuries, to be subjected to unwarranted criticism and false claims by elected people, or to suffer through frivolous complaints and lengthy investigations devoid of due process,” according to the police union’s president.

RRT members “continued to come to work every day, fatigued and hurt” until their resignations on Wednesday, Turner added. “The team’s commitment, dedication, and integrity to serve their communities were the only things that kept them together. However, when political vitriol attacked these public employees for doing exactly what they were hired to do – restore peace and order in our city – the glue was broken.”

“Those politicized acts put Rapid Response Team members and public safety at danger when elected officials turned nightly violence into political banter for their own personal objectives,” Turner said. “The truth is that our dedicated RRT members have had enough and have no choice but to quit from their volunteer jobs.”

“The good old boy network is crumbling, and we can either be a part of the change or part of the status quo – but the arc of justice is bending quickly, and it’s imperative that the Portland City Council lands on the right side of history,” Hardesty said in a statement released days before the new federal holiday Juneteenth was recognized. She stated that 82 percent of Portland voters passed a ballot initiative to establish a new system of independent police supervision.

Hardesty expressed his support for Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt, whose office filed the charge against Budworth prior to his grand jury indictment. On Aug. 18, 2020, he will be charged with one misdemeanor count of fourth-degree assault against photographer and activist Teri Jacobs.

Individuals in a throng of around 200 demonstrators tossed a Molotov cocktail at the Multnomah Building in southeast Portland, lighting it ablaze, as seen on footage that spread on social media. While Budworth was working crowd control, a riot was proclaimed.

According to a report by the US Department of Justice, the city’s police used force more than 6,000 times between May 29 and Nov. 15, 2020, during the peak of protests in Portland. Budworth was the first member of the Rapid Response Team to face criminal charges as a result of the use of force during those incidents. Budworth’s baton “push” to the head was accidental, according to the police union, and the prosecution was politically motivated.

Last Monday, authorities confirmed the Oregon Department of Justice is investigating a Portland Police Bureau detective for possible criminal charges linked to the use of force during last year’s racial-justice marches.

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