Portland police commander on 'Hannity': Riot squad resigning was a 'long time coming'

Portland PD rapid response commander speaks out after entire squad resigns

Lieutenant Jacob Clark tells ‘Hannity’ the decision was ‘a long time coming’

The Portland Police Department Rapid Response Team commander spoke out Tuesday after the entire squad resigned after an officer was indicted for using forces against a rioter last summer.

“This was a long time coming. They wanted to quit back in the fall. They met with the team to discuss their issues. The chief said that they would address it. The team believed that, they kept doing their job. And then really, this indictment of one of our officers was kind of the second-to-last straw that broke the camel’s back for the team,” Lieutenant Jacob Clark told “Hannity.”

He stressed that the officers have not left the force, but refused to stay on the riot squad.

All of the members of the Portland Police Bureau’s highly trained rapid response unit, which had responded to riots, resigned last week after the recent indictment of Officer Corey Budworth for allegedly assaulting a photographer during an overnight riot last summer.

On Tuesday, a Multnomah County grand jury charged Budworth with one count of fourth-degree assault related to the Aug. 18, 2020, incident. 

That night, according to the Portland Police Association, about 200 demonstrators, many equipped with tactical helmets, face coverings, and armed with a variety of weapons, descended on the Multnomah Building in southeast Portland. Multiple dumpsters were set on fire, buildings were defaced, and windows were broken. A riot was declared at the planned event after someone from the crowd launched a Molotov cocktail into the building and set it ablaze.

Several rioters interfered with an officer attempting to place one person under arrest.  

“RRT officers, including Officer Budworth, used their Police Bureau-issued batons to try and stop the crowd’s criminal activity,” the union’s description of events continued. “Per his training and in response to the active aggression of a rioter interfering with a lawful arrest, Officer Budworth used baton pushes to move a rioter, now known to be Teri Jacobs, out of the area.” 

Jacobs, an activist and photographer, fell to the ground. Cell phone video showing Budworth striking Jacobs in head from behind quickly circulated on social media. But the union said the blow to the head was an accident on the officer’s part and he used the lowest level of baton force. 

Clark urged that the rapid response team “just needs guidance” and officers are wondering how they can do their jobs without risking legal consequences.

“They don’t know what they can do because the interpretation of policies are always changing. There is no interpretation of the law that applies to this stuff. Nobody can tell us what we can or cannot, should or should not do … and in the chaos of a riot, how do you operate in that?” he asked.

Fox News’ Talia Kaplan contributed to this report.

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