Great Britain

Portland police officers resign from protest response unit en masse after colleague faces charges

Police officers serving with a specialised crowd control unit in Portland, Oregon, have resigned from their voluntary roles en masse after criminal charges were filed against a colleague over an altercation at a protest last summer.

According to The Oregonian, officers on the Rapid Response Team voted to disband their unit during a meeting on Wednesday evening.

The decision came a day after officer Cody Budworth was indicted, accused of fourth-degree assault after allegedly striking a protester with a baton in an incident last summer.

The altercation unfolded in the midst of widespread protests in Portland in the wake of the death of George Floyd, a Black man who was killed after Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, kneeled on his neck for more than 9 minutes in an arrest over allegations he used a counterfeit $20 note.

According to The Associated Press, a team lieutenant called Seattle Police Chief Chuck Lovell to tell him team members, who serve voluntarily with the unit, had voted to resign.

The decision reportedly came amid a perceived lack of support from Seattle City Hall and the district attorney over the past year.

In October of last year, the president of the police union, the Portland Police Association, sent a letter to Portland’s mayor and police chief calling on them to "stand up and publicly support Police Bureau members who voluntarily serve on the Rapid Response Team (RRT)”.

"Our RRT members do not volunteer to have Molotov cocktails, fireworks, explosives, rocks, bottles, urine, feces and other dangerous objects thrown at them," Daryl Turner, then the president of the union, said in the letter.

According to AP, as many as 70 members belonged to the unit a year ago.

It is unclear what will happen with the unit.

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