A member of the Portland Police Rapid Response Team in Oregon was recently indicted on a charge of using too much force against an individual during a protest last year.
In response to the development, every remaining member of the 50-person riot squad resigned from their position after voting to disband the group entirely, Breitbart reported.
“A threat of harm to the community”
According to a statement from the Portland Police Bureau, the officers will still be employed by the agency and their service on the specialized response team was on a volunteer basis.
— Portland Police (@PortlandPolice) June 17, 2021
In its statement, the police department described its Rapid Response Team as “an all-hazard incident response team that has received advanced specialized training to respond to incidents requiring higher levels of technical expertise including public order policing, natural or man-made disasters.”
Its “primary role,” the agency added, “has been to provide public safety at crowd events when there was a threat of harm to the community.”
An indictment against Officer Cody Budworth was handed down this week in connection to his alleged use of excessive force in dispersing a crowd last summer. Detective Erik Kammerer, another member of the team, is also under investigation for similar claims.
Portland Police Association President Daryl Turner issued a statement of his own in which he sided with the team and described the indictment as politically motivated.
“Our RRT members do not volunteer to have Molotov cocktails, fireworks, explosives, rocks, bottles, urine, feces, and other dangerous objects thrown at them,” he asserted, according to KATU. “Nor do they volunteer to have threats of rape, murder, and assaults on their families hurled at them. They do not volunteer to suffer serious injuries, to be subjected to warrantless criticism and face allegations by elected officials, or to suffer through baseless complaints and lengthy investigations devoid of due process.”
Turner went on to caution Mayor Ted Wheeler and other city leaders to “stop using RRT members as political pawns.”
Wheeler insisted that he appreciated the work of the team and acknowledged the stress under which they have been working during an extended period of public protest and rioting. Democratic Gov. Kate Brown said she would send the state police mobile response team to support local Portland officers if needed.
The most recent reports of rioting in the area came last month, around the anniversary of George Floyd’s death while in the custody of police in Minnesota.