News & Politics

Portland Can Blame 'Woke' DA Schmidt and Singer John Legend for the Police Riot Squad Walk Out

AP Photo/Noah Berger

It took 18 months of steady abuse by rioters and their overlords at city hall for Portland cops to say “no mas” and tap out. As one retired Portland police detective said, “If anyone did to a horse or a dog what has been done to PPB cops for 18 months, that person would have amassed hundreds of counts of felony animal abuse, but it’s perfectly OK to do it to cops, wholesale, and with an army of anarchist pals.”

The police officers in the Portland riot squad, officially called the “rapid response team (RRT),” still work for the agency, but will no longer volunteer themselves for the duty that resulted in “nearly all” members being injured with “broken bones, torn ligaments, and cartilage, traumatic brain injuries, hearing damage, damaged eyesight, lacerations and burns,” in the words of the resignation letter sent to the chief by the squad’s leader.

Expect more of this.

Unconfirmed reports abound that another nearby police agency riot squad, whose members provided back-up to the Portland Police Bureau for antifa, anarchist, and Black Lives Matter riots in the past, walked out as well. No official announcement has been made and efforts to confirm the reports have been met with silence.

Los Angeles and Seattle cops are probably next.

This cop chaos isn’t a side effect of wokesters who want to “burn it down” with no plan for keeping order after the destruction of the institutions they hate, it’s a feature.

Civil libertarians know that police power exercised by elected officials must be scrupulously watched, but also know that order doesn’t have to be sacrificed in order to achieve accountability.

Not so in Portland.

The chaos started at the top by assuming rioters were victims and cops were criminals.

In their letter, RRT leader Lieutenant Jacob Clark said rules on the books for dealing with protests and riots didn’t change, but interpretation of those rules changed often and were in conflict with interpretations by council members, the city attorney, and others. Worse, the changes in the interpretations were applied retroactively and officers, staying within the limits of the law, were suddenly written up under a new interpretation of the rules.

Furthermore, cops were put in more danger because of the flighty mayor’s office and the city’s capitulation to orders from judges, without fighting allegations in court.

The circumstances in which the team is asked to operate in are extremely hazardous and present serious officer safety concerns. The removal of effective tools through mayoral order or judicial decree have increased the hazards the team faces and has greatly decreased their safety. The removal of tools also forced team members to utilize more physical force to accomplish the missions dictated to them by Incident Command. Team members expressed this concern to Bureau command at the time, and were told Bureau command understood that more physical force would be used. Additionally, reduced bureau staffing, budget, and very little mutual aid support, has forced the team to interact with dangerous crowds without proper staffing levels which directly decreases their level of safety.

You can trace the walkout by Portland cops directly to efforts that began with George Soros.

Singer John Legend and BLM co-founder Shaun King followed Soros’s lead and poured money into the campaigns of district attorney candidates who believe cops are the problem, not the solution to keeping order. In fact, keeping order isn’t really a thing for these activists.

In both cities, Leftists poured money behind DA candidates who promised to free criminals and do what they could to stick it to cops and police departments. Portland got Mike Schmidt and LA got carpet bagger George Gascon. These DA’s, aided by unhinged city council members – Jo Ann Hardesty in Portland, Kshama Sawant in Seattle, and their allies in city bureaus – have created less safe cities.

Seattle’s city attorney and King County prosecutor’s lack of prosecutions against actual criminals – because woke ideology – has turned the Emerald City, like Portland and San Francisco before it, into a homeless encampment with no rules, free-flowing drugs, and free rent.

Seattle radio host Jason Rantz reported recently that the head of the Department of Finance and Administrative Service recently issued a letter calling that city’s cops “white supremacists” who “serve the false gods of white supremacy.”

As the letter to the Portland police chief points out that there’s a “significant lack of leadership from the Chief’s office, City Hall, local political leaders and the local District Attorneys office.” Indeed, quitting the riot squad was a vote of no confidence against the Portland city attorney.

The cops protested the lack of prosecutions against rioters who had hurt cops and committed other crimes during violent protests and increased and inconsistent application of the internal affairs and police review processes, which would clear the cops only to have that decision countermanded by political leaders later.

Indeed, prosecutors have begun seeking out criminal defense attorneys to bring charges against Portland, Seattle, and LA cops. That’s right, when voters stupidly chose these unhinged political operatives they probably didn’t realize they were turning over state police power to criminal defense attorneys.

George Gascon actually hired a criminal defense attorney, who was still trying anti-cop cases, to work for the LA DA’s office! A judge ruled the lawyer couldn’t both work for the county and try cases against the county.

As PJ Media colleague Kevin Downey, Jr pointed out, on Monday Multnomah County DA, Mike Schmidt, who can’t manage to find criminal behavior in antifa and BLM rioters’ activities, suddenly decided after reinterpreting the rules (again) that a riot squad member, Corey A. Budworth, should be charged with fourth degree assault for hitting an antifa “journalist” with a nightstick.

The DA said he was shopping for complaints against the cops to local antifa defense attorneys.

Oh, yes, he did.

“Schmidt told The Oregonian/OregonLive that he learned of Budworth’s case when the video of the baton strike was shared on social media. He waited to see whether any police reports would be submitted to his office for review on the case but didn’t receive any. He said he reached out to Jacobs’ civil attorney once the federal civil suit was filed.“ and “We reached out to other attorneys to see if their clients would be interested in pursuing any criminal cases,” Schmidt told The Oregonian/OregonLive. [emphasis added]

The charge against the Portland cop was based on a video that was offered without context.

The riot squad members believe that if more video were available to show their actions the community would better understand how they deal with rioters

The lack of available video to show events from the perspective of team members has negatively impacted the community’s perspective of the team’s performance. The same lack of video has also lead to an increase in sustained Internal Affairs investigations of team members based almost entirely on video submitted by the demonstrators themselves.

You might be thinking right now, why don’t cops take their own video? They do – or did, anyway.

The team fully recognizes the Bureau attempted to live stream events to accomplish this purpose, and the use of live streaming was restricted when a judge issued a temporary restraining order. However, the team strongly believes the City Attorney’s Office’s interpretation of that temporary restraining order was overly restrictive and risk averse in the City’s interest. That overly restricted and risk averse protected the city while putting team members in a position of increased individual risk.

They called for body cameras for the officers saying, “had members been equipped with body-worn cameras, the community could have viewed events from our perspective … ”

Cops shouldn’t go rogue and neither should citizens, but when elected officials take the law into their own hands without equal protection – cops included – it’s anarchy.

One man commenting on a thread about the Portland case put it succinctly:

When we are going after the good guys and not the mob you know we are screwed.

Exactly.