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Fifty Portland police officers quit crowd-control unit after colleague indicted in summer riots

The officer was indicted on a misdemeanor assault charge.

Updated: June 18, 2021 - 8:13am

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

A group of roughly 50 Portland, Oregon, police officers who served voluntarily as a special crowd-control unit have stepped down after a colleague was indicted for assault in connection with the summer riots.

The resignations announced Thursday by the Portland Police Department Thursday follower Officer Corey Budworth being indicted a day earlier on a misdemeanor charge for allegedly physically assaulting a photojournalist during protests that erupted in August, according to The New York Times.

The officers formally resigned Wednesday, just hours after the indictment was issued against Budworth.

The officers' union derided the indictment calling it a "politically driven charging decision" against an officer who "worked to restore order during a chaotic night of burning and destruction in Portland."

Deputy Chief Chris Davis said after the resignation were announced that the officers would remain on the police force, on regular patrol, and could still be deployed to respond to protests. However, they had voted to leave the squad – known as the Rapid Response Team. In the team's absence, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler ordered police to prepare additional personnel to deal with possible violent protests.

"If you put a human being through what they were put through, that takes a toll," Davis said, arguing that the officers felt like they didn’t have the support they needed during the more than 150 nights of protests that occurred after the death of George Floyd in May 2020.

"They’re not feeling like that sacrifice that they have made, necessarily, has been understood very well, and that’s their perspective, and I have to honor their perspective," Davis he also said.