Who is Corey Budworth? Portland cop indicted for hitting photographer, entire squad quits
All 50 officers in Portland Police Bureau's (PPB) riot squad resigned in protest on Wednesday, June 16. The squad resigned with immediate effect in solidarity with their colleague Officer Corey Budworth, who has been indicted for assault. That indictment came after Budworth was accused of hitting Teri Jacobs, a photojournalist during the riots in the city last August.
Ever since August 2020, Portland has been home to some of the deadliest riots in America. The police have also come under repeated criticism for their handling of rioters, including one time when they claimed rioters were throwing rocks and concrete at them. On September 26, they pinned down a delivery man, which led them to be dubbed as "out of control". In another instance, a Navy veteran was assaulted when he approached the cops to talk about "violating their oath to protect and serve".
Amongst those many controversial incidents is the one involving Jacobs, who was working as a photojournalist at the time. The assault on Jacobs has led Budworth to be indicted for criminal assault. While the police have dubbed it "political", others have slammed the cops for attacking the press. However, the unit Budworth was a part of has decided to stick with their colleague, leaving the city without a unit to respond to protests at the moment.
Who is Corey Budworth?
Little is known about the 40-year-old Budworth, as we couldn't find a public Facebook account in his name. According to records, he joined the PPB in July 2015, and was serving on the force's Rapid Response Team (RRT) at the time of the Portland protests in 2020. The incident with Jacobs was not the first time Budworth was in the press, but previously he was noted for his community service.
We found a 2017 article that mentions Budworth helping stranded motorists during a snowstorm in January. According to that article, Budworth, then a North Precinct Officer, was commended for offering rides to those in need. The article says Budworth was a Portland native, who previously worked in sales for an insurance company. He then joined the PPB in 2016.
In August, Jacobs was covering a nightly protest near the Multnomah Building on SE Hawthorne Boulevard. Then, she was shoved to the ground, and hit in the head, neck, shoulders, and face with a truncheon by an officer. The exact circumstances of that attack are disputed. Jacobs claims she was helping a friend who had fallen down, while the police dispute she was interfering with an arrest.
The interaction was caught on video by another individual at the protest and shared on Twitter. In it, Jacobs can be seen with a camera being shoved to the ground by a cop, who then hits her face with a baton before walking away. At the time, the officer was not identified beyond his number 37, since the PPB are allowed to hide their name badges when responding to protests. The officer was later identified as Budworth.
WE ARE DEFUND THE POLICE⭐️#USpolice in #Portland brutality beat #protestors & press alike. Here u can see #police brutally beat a woman (with a #presspass) with batons and then officer #37 strikes her in the face when she is on ground🔥#PortlandProtest pic.twitter.com/zJcH6H6q28— 𝓒𝓪𝓷𝓪𝓻𝔂 𝓘𝓷 𝓣𝓱𝓮 𝓜𝓲𝓷𝓭🦜 (@B1Fiirst) August 20, 2020
Budworth's indictment leads to resignations
In September, Jacobs filed a lawsuit against the city and PPB, which has become a major source of contention. In the federal lawsuit, Jacobs alleged, "an entire squad of Portland Police Officers witnessed this act, failed to intervene, and allowed this officer to walk away after committing a violent crime." She requested a full jury trial, but in February reached a $50,000 settlement with the city.
However, the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office continued its investigation into the case, eventually reaching a historic decision to charge Budworth. The DA presented the case to the grand jury, who for the first time in Portland history, indicted an officer for excessive use of force. On June 15, the DA announced Budworth was being indicted on one count of fourth-degree assault. After the indictment, Budworth was placed on paid administrative leave.
In response, the Portland Police Association called the indictment a "politically driven charging decision". DA Mike Shmidt defended the indictment, saying, "in this case, we allege that no legal justification existed for Officer Budworth’s deployment of force and that the deployment of force was legally excessive under the circumstances." Now, the entire riot squad has decided to stand by their colleague. On June 16, all 50 members of the Rapid Response Team (RRT) have decided to quit with immediate effect.
According to Willamette Weekly, the officers have resigned from the RRT, but not the PPB. That means that the unit is effectively disbanded, while the officers will serve in other units in the PPB. "(The) members were sworn employees of the Portland police who served on RRT in addition to their daily assignment in the bureau," the bureau said in a statement. "Despite no longer serving on RRT, they will continue in their regular assignments."