Multnomah County DA Mike Schmidt confirms more investigations into police officer conduct
Schmidt told OPB’s “Think Out Loud” his office is looking at multiple cases.
After announcing a Portland Police officer’s indictment on Tuesday for assault on a protester last year, Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt confirmed on Wednesday that other use-of-force incidents are still under review.
“We have looked at multiple cases already and I think there are still several more that we’re continuing to look at,” Schmidt told OPB’s “Think Out Loud.”
Officer Corey Budworth was indicted this week by a Multnomah County grand jury for fourth-degree assault. Budworth was filmed in August hitting a protester’s head and neck from behind with his baton multiple times as she walked away. The protester, activist and photographer Terri Jacobs, settled a lawsuit with the city over the incident in September for $50,000.
“This is one case of multiple that we’re looking at and have looked at,” Schmidt told OPB. “So it’s not necessarily an outlier that way.”
In a statement, the Portland Police Association, the union representing rank and file officers, said Budworth acted according to his training, a claim Schmidt also addressed.
“If that’s true, I think that is problematic,” Schmidt said. “We can’t be training officers to do things that violate criminal law.”
If convicted, Budworth faces a maximum of one year in prison plus a $6,250 fine.
Hours after announcing Budworth’s indictment, Schmidt’s office confirmed it had referred an investigation into Portland police Det. Erik Kammerer’s use of force during protests to the Oregon State Department of Justice for review. That investigation was referred to state prosecutors because Kammerer is a homicide detective who works closely with the DA’s office.
The Oregon Department of Justice declined to comment on the status of its investigation in Kammerer and was not immediately available to answer questions about other possible reviews of Portland officers.
In the interview with OPB’s Think Out Loud, Schmidt said his office has faced challenges investigating the numerous complaints about police violence at protests, including identifying and contacting the victims. Reaching out to victims, he said, is usually necessary for assault investigations where it’s difficult to determine the level of harm or injury just from watching a video.
“I can’t say specifically how many we’re looking at, but when people are interested in reporting and there’s evidence there, we review it and decide whether or not to go forward,” Schmidt said.