June 17 (UPI) — Officers on the Portland Police Bureau’s Rapid Response Team in Oregon voted to resign en masse, the bureau said.
The approximately 50 members of the specialized crowd control unit met on Wednesday as they voted to disband the team. They will remain sworn members of the bureau and continue their regular assignments.
A team lieutenant called Chief Chuck Lovell to inform him of the decision, citing a perceived lack of support from City Hall and the district attorney over the past year as they responded to more than 100 consecutive nights of protests.
“Have I ever seen anything like this in my career? No, I don’t think any of us have,” Deputy Chief Chris Davis said.
The decision also came after a member of the team, officer Corey Budworth, was indicted on criminal charges accusing him of using excessive force during a protest.
A Portland man also filed a lawsuit against RRT member Detective Erik Kammerer for allegedly hitting him with a baton while trying to speak with officers during a protest.
Mayor Ted Wheeler, who serves as the city’s police commissioner, met with Davis and Lovell in a video conference on Thursday morning and is expected to reach out to Gov. Kate Brown to consider back-up support from the Oregon National Guard if needed following the team’s disbanding.
The police bureau has also reached out to Oregon State Police for its mobile response team assistance in the event of protests occurring over the next few nights.
“We’re committed to providing the community the best service that we can. And this does not mean that there will be no response in public order situations,” Davis said. “We’ll use the resources that we have.”