Prosecutors in various left-leaning districts have faced increasing criticism for apparently prioritizing accountability for law enforcement officers over pursuing charges against criminals.
In Portland, Oregon, an entire police response team resigned in response to the recent indictment of one of its members.
The former Portland Police Rapid Response Team member is accused of using excessive force during a riot in August, according to ABC News.
“Caught in the crossfire”
Unnamed sources close to the team revealed that a vote on Wednesday led to the decision that they would all walk away from the job over perceived “hostility” and lack of support from the district attorney and other elected officials.
As for the indicted officer, a police union statement asserted that Corey Budworth had been “caught in the crossfire of agenda-driven city leaders and a politicized criminal justice system.”
Around 50 officers serve in the voluntary position on the team and are specially trained to address crowd control issues during protests and riots. The mass resignation was first reported on Wednesday by KXL FM after an anonymous source delivered the update.
Portland Police Association Executive Director Daryl Turner hinted at the possibility earlier in the day during a conversation with radio host Lars Larson in which he accused the local prosecutor of engaging in a “witch hunt” against the bureau’s officers.
Officer faces misdemeanor charge
A bureau press release on Thursday confirmed the news, noting that the ex-team members were still employed as officers and would carry on their regular assignments.
Budworth has been placed on administrative leave and is facing a fourth-degree misdemeanor assault charge for allegedly striking a photojournalist in the head with a baton while breaking up a crowd.
For his part, Multnomah County District attorney Mike Schmidt argued that the officer’s actions were excessive and unwarranted. The police union has maintained that Budworth accidentally hit Teri Jacobs on the head and describes the prosecution as politically motivated.
Jacobs reached a settlement with the city in civil court, receiving a payment of $50,000 plus $11,000 in legal fees.
Although the decision to indict Budworth received support among various city leaders, Turner expressed frustration on behalf of the team, writing: “The reality is our dedicated RRT members have had enough and were left with no other alternative but to resign from their voluntary positions.”