Police fire tear gas during rioting in Portland on Jan. 23, 2021.
Analysis by WorldTribune Staff, June 20, 2021
The resignation of Portland's 50-member riot squad on Wednesday was sad, but predictable, observers are saying.
The Portland Police Bureau’s Rapid Response Team (RRT) resigned following Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt's announcement that an officer on the squad had been charged with misdemeanor fourth-degree assault for hitting a rioter with a baton in August.
Critics say Schmidt is another in a long line of George Soros-backed DAs who are bent on transforming the U.S. criminal justice system to one where criminals are given the benefit of the doubt over law enforcement. Schmidt's campaign received funds from the Soros-backed Safety & Justice PAC.
Related: Soros-style ‘justice’: Portland DA dismisses 70 percent of riot-related cases
, October 9, 2020
Schmidt, who was elected in May 2020, announced in August 2020 that he would not prosecute what he described as low-level offenses, including interfering with a police officer, disorderly conduct, criminal trespass, escape and harassment, unless there are extenuating circumstances.
Daryl Turner, executive director of the Portland Police Association, issued a statement Friday blaming “political venom” for the mass resignation of the riot squad.
“They put themselves in harm’s way to restore order and peace when destruction and mayhem struck,” Turner said. “Rather than acknowledging and thanking those officers, rather than prioritizing public safety and peace, politicians criticized the RRT, further fueling the fires in our City.”
The officers who agreed to resign will no longer work as part of the Rapid Response Team – but will remain employed by the police department, according to the police bureau. Participation in the riot team is voluntary.
Schmidt's office has dropped 80 percent of the more than 1,000 criminal civil-unrest cases filed in the last year during Antifa-fueled rioting that went on for more than 100 days.
In a statement following the indictment, Schmidt said: "In this case, we allege that no legal justification existed for Officer (Corey) Budworth’s deployment of force, and that the deployment of force was legally excessive under the circumstances."
"My office will continue to do everything we can to ensure justice is done without error or delay and that we make sure our work and practices are rooted in fairness and equity," Schmidt added.
The Portland Police Association accused Schmidt of ignoring the reality of the violent nature of the riots. The union stressed that Budworth did exactly as he was trained, arguing that the Portland Police Bureau’s own experts reviewed his actions and found them "reasonable, permissible, and in accordance with his training."
The Oregon Department of Justice is also investigating a use-of-force allegation against a police detective, according to local news outlets.
Turner said that local politicians have “celebrated the destruction of our City as if looting, arson, property damage, physical violence, and even murder were permissible and lawful First Amendment activities.” He added that officers have been subjected to “warrantless criticism and false allegations by elected officials,” in addition to “baseless complaints and lengthy investigations devoid of due process.”
“Until now, they have continued to come to work every day, exhausted and injured,” Turner said. “The only glue holding the team together was their commitment, dedication, and integrity to serve their communities. But that glue dissolved when political venom demonized these public servants for doing exactly what they were tasked to do — restore peace and order in our City.”
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