By Kanishka Singh
(Reuters) – All members of the Portland Police crowd control team resigned from their positions in the unit after an officer was indicted on one count of assault stemming from the alleged illegal use of force during a protest last year. past.
“On June 16, 2021, Portland Police Office employees who were serving as members of the Rapid Response Team (RRT) left their volunteer positions and are no longer part of a team,” Portland Police said in a statement Thursday, adding that the employees will continue their regular assignments.
The unit had about 50 employees, who served as its members, in addition to their daily assignments with the police, according to Thursday’s statement.
Earlier this week, a grand jury indicted a Portland police officer on one count of assault for what prosecutors allege was “excessive and illegal use of force” during a protest last summer.
Portland Police Office Officer Corey Budworth was charged Tuesday with one count of assault in the fourth degree, 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 hitting or shooting someone during a protest, according to the Oregonian newspaper.
The Portland Police Association described the decision as “politically driven” and said the officer “has been caught in the crossfire of city leaders driven by the agenda and a politicized criminal justice system.”
Last year, Portland saw months of protests against racism following the death of George Floyd, an African American who died after a police officer knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes.
The city became the scene of riots for months, with civil rights protesters, anarchists and anti-fascists fighting with the police and occasionally with right-wing militias and supporters of then-US President Donald Trump.
Portland police declared a riot at multiple of those demonstrations and arrested several people during the course of those months.
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