Portland Officer Indicted for ‘Excessive Force’ on Photog, Riot Squad Resigns

Every police officer in a crowd-control unit in Portland has resigned from the squad after one of its members was indicted on an assault charge for “excessive and unlawful” force against an activist photographer. The Oregonian reports that all the roughly 50 officers, detectives, and sergeants in Portland’s specialized Rapid Response Team (RRT) voted to […]

Portland Officer Indicted for ‘Excessive Force’ on Photog, Riot Squad Resigns

Every police officer in a crowd-control unit in Portland has resigned from the squad after one of its members was indicted on an assault charge for “excessive and unlawful” force against an activist photographer.

reports that all the roughly 50 officers, detectives, and sergeants in Portland’s specialized Rapid Response Team (RRT) voted to resign this past Wednesday in an unprecedented move for the Portland Police Bureau (PPB).

The meeting and vote came one day after RRT member Officer Corey Budworth was indicted and charged with fourth-degree assault for his actions last summer.

The indictment handed down by a Multnomah County grand jury on June 15th. Image via The Oregonian.

During the anti-racism protests and riots that slammed Portland in August 2020, a riot was declared on the night of August 18th after someone from a crowd of about 200 demonstrators launched a Molotov cocktail into the Multnomah Building, a government office in southeast Portland, setting it on fire.

During the RRT’s response to the riot, Budworth was captured on camera pushing activist photographer Teri Jacobs over from behind and then striking her in the head with his baton. Jacobs stated that she was left with injuries to her back and head as well as damage to her camera.

“I’m doing my very best to get to the sidewalk, and it feels like it doesn’t matter where I am, what I do, these police officers are going to run me over, ram into me,” Jacobs said of the incident, . “I really wasn’t aware of what was happening or the pain that I was in until I was on the sidewalk, and then I realized like, whoa, my back, my head, like what just happened there.”

The police union defended Budworth, stating that he used the lowest level of baton force and that the strike to the head was accidental.

“Reasonably believing that she was getting back up to re-engage in her unlawful activities, Officer Budworth employed one last baton push to try and keep her on the ground, which accidentally struck Ms. Jacobs in the head,” the union said in a statement. “The location of Officer Budworth’s last baton push was accidental, not criminal. He faced a violent and chaotic, rapidly evolving situation, and he used the lowest level of baton force — a push; not a strike or a jab — to remove Ms. Jacobs from the area.”

Jacobs announced earlier this year that she had agreed on a $50,000 civil settlement with the city of Portland over the incident.

In October 2020, the police association urged Portland’s mayor and police chief to publicly support the officers volunteering for the RRT.

“Our RRT members do not volunteer to have Molotov cocktails, fireworks, explosives, rocks, bottles, urine, feces and other dangerous objects thrown at them,” wrote then union president Daryl Turner. “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.”

“These officers find themselves in a no-win situation,” Turner continued. “They are told to stand down and only intervene when things have gotten so out of control that they have no other option than to use high levels of force to regain control of unlawful demonstrations. They are criticized for their perceived inaction on the front end and are criticized for their inevitable use of force on the back end. They can’t win because of the position others have put them in.”

After a grand jury made Budworth the first RTT member to face criminal prosecution this week, the entire RRT decided to resign, citing a lack of support from their city government and from the “extreme liability” now faced by those who volunteer for the squad (and serve without any special pay).

“On June 16, 2021, Portland Police Bureau employees serving as members of the Rapid Response Team (RRT) left their voluntary positions and no longer comprise a team,” the PPB announced in a press release. “Its members were sworn employees of the Portland Police who served on RRT in addition to their daily assignment in the Bureau. Despite no longer serving on RRT, they will continue in their regular assignments. There were approximately 50 employees serving as RRT members.”

Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt disagrees, saying that Budworth’s use of force was “excessive and lacks a justification under the law.”

Portland mayor Ted Wheeler has released a statement acknowledging the challenges faced by those who served on the RRT.

“I want to acknowledge the toll this past year has taken on them and their families—they have worked long hours under difficult conditions,” Wheeler writes. “I personally heard from some of them today, and I appreciate their willingness to share their concerns about managing the many public gatherings that often were violent and destructive.

“It is my expectation, and the community’s expectation, that the City remains committed to public safety and effective police oversight. City leaders will continue working in partnership with Portlanders, community organizations and police leadership to reform our community safety system.”

With Portland’s crowd-control squad gone, the city will reportedly turn to the Oregon State Police’s mobile response team as well as the Oregon National Guard if Portland police officers need support in the coming days.


Image credits: Header photo licensed from Depositphotos

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The Inevitable Convergence of Social Media, Commerce, and Visual Content

You walk through the supermarket aisle until you face various choices for the product you wish to eat. In the case of cereals, it can be 20 or more different options. You reach out and pick one, which you feel is the right decision based on a well-educated process. In fact, when you make that […]

The Inevitable Convergence of Social Media, Commerce, and Visual Content

You walk through the supermarket aisle until you face various choices for the product you wish to eat. In the case of cereals, it can be 20 or more different options. You reach out and pick one, which you feel is the right decision based on a well-educated process.

In fact, when you make that decision, you are executing on thousands of messages received during most of your entire lifetime—each one with the sole purpose of influencing that decision. In commerce, that purchasing act is called the second moment of truth. The moment when millions of dollars of marketing (at least for cereal companies) is converted into a purchase decision.

The second moment of truth.

Traditionally, the two have been geographically and historically separated. You receive marketing messages at breakfast while reading your daily digest on your phone, and you will be buying in the late afternoon.

Ecommerce, for most of its brief existence, has followed the same schema. Advertising here, shopping there. But not anymore. Everything is converging to one all-encompassing moment of truth at one place and one time, with visual content at its core. The customer journey is now reduced to an instant and one visual.

There are three main steps in a customer journey:

  1. The awareness of the product
  2. The consideration of the product
  3. The purchase of the product

Up to now, they all happened at different places and over time. Now, it’s all converging at one place and time and all within one visual content.

Nowhere can this be experienced more than on social media since we spent most of our time. All platform owe their success and operate with visual content as their core interface. Stage one was to use those visuals to capture audiences. Stage 2 two was to transform those views into advertising; stage three adds a “buy” button: Discovery, conversion, purchase, now all in one image or video.

Instagram displays an ad every 3 to 4 posts and uses retargeting profusely. Each ad contains multiple visuals introducing a product you have shown interest in and leading to a shop now button. That one image or video contains the whole customer journey.

A familiar view: an ad on Instagram

The numbers confirm the story: 81% of people out of over 1 billion use Instagram every month to help research products and services. With an average conversion rate of 1.85 percent, that’s 14 million clicks on a “buy” button of an image every month.

Identical scenario for Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Snap. Photography has a new role, one much harder to master. It has to introduce, convince, and sell all within one frame. It has to capitalize on the instant attention span. With video, it’s an identical challenge, all within the maximum of 60 seconds granted by most social media platforms. For brands, the bar is making the brutal journey feel seamless, which is why they rely on influencers’ expertise. They have mastered converting content into captive audiences and come with built-in trust. All that is needed is the “buy” button.

The product now comes to you, fully packaged with all the information you might need to make a purchase decision, including the cash register. Everything is transformed into an impulse buy, one carefully vetted via retargeting by your shown interest. All compressed in one frame or 60-second video, right next to those party pix of last night shared by you BFF.

Shop and share. The lines are blurred. Your friends, brands, product, purchase, parties are all part of the same flow. Click Like here, click buy there; who is that at my front door? A delivery or a friend? The beginning and end of your buyer journey are all in here, in one frame.


About the author: Paul Melcher is a photography and technology entrepreneur based in New York, and the founder of Kaptur, a news magazine about the visual tech space. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. You can find more of his writings on his blog, Thoughts of a Bohemian. Melcher offers his services as a consultant as well. This article was also published here.


Image credits: Stock photos licensed from Depositphotos

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