Not guilty plea entered for police officer in assault case

PORTLAND, Ore. — An attorney for a Portland police officer has entered a not guilty plea on the officer’s behalf to a fourth-degree assault charge involving his alleged actions during a protest last year.

Corey Budworth waived his appearance at arraignment Monday in Multnomah County Circuit Court, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported.

A grand jury last month indicted Budworth on the misdemeanor charge, accusing him of striking a woman in the head with a baton. It was the first time a Portland police officer has faced prosecution over striking or firing at someone during a protest.

A team of 50 police officers who served on a specialized crowd-control unit in Oregon and had responded to Portland’s ongoing, often violent protests against racial injustice and police brutality last year resigned en masse after Budworth’s indictment.

The officers, detectives and sergeants on the Rapid Response Team voted to resign because of a perceived lack of support from City Hall and from the district attorney in the past year, according to the mayor’s office and officers.

Senior Multnomah County Circuit Judge Marilyn Litzenberger on Monday ordered that Budworth have no contact with Teri Jacobs, an independent photographer and the alleged victim.

The indictment accuses the officer of “unlawfully, knowingly and recklessly causing physical injury” to Jacobs on Aug. 18. Jacobs alleges Budworth “bashed her in the face” with his baton after he knocked her to the ground, according to court records.

A video shared on Twitter shows the officer running and hitting the back of a woman’s head with his baton after police had declared an unlawful assembly and ordered a crowd to disperse. That knocked the woman down and then he struck her in the head with the baton again while she was down, according to the video.

Budworth’s next court appearance, set to be by phone, is scheduled for 9 a.m. Aug. 20 to determine trial readiness.

Budworth joined the Police Bureau six years ago. He was placed on paid leave last month.

Jacobs filed a civil rights and battery suit against the city of Portland stemming from the police push and baton strike. The city this spring agreed to pay her $50,000, plus $11,000 in attorney fees, to settle the case, according to court records.