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I asked our team to pause for family time this week before kids return to school. The homepage is updated daily. The Digest returns on Monday, August 2. —Mark Alexander

Nate Jackson / Jun. 21, 2021

Portland Police Protest the Left’s War on Cops

Some 50 officers resigned from a riot response unit after a dubious indictment of one of their own.

Portland, Oregon, the unofficial headquarters of antifa, just lost 50 members of a voluntary police riot squad after they resigned en masse to protest leftist policies and violence in the city. While they all remain on the city’s police force, they will not serve in riot response. It turns out that when, as Portland Police Association Executive Director Daryl Turner argued, Democrats have “encouraged and enabled some of the violence” over more than 150 nights of riots in Portland, police no longer want to risk their lives to restore peace.

But this is a national problem, and Democrats are reaping what they’ve sown.

The Left began its war on cops during Barack Obama’s tenure. He decided it was politically expedient to vilify “racist” police after a series of incidents involving officers and belligerent black suspects. Incessant (and often misleading) Leftmedia focus elevated such incidents to the nation’s consciousness, which then made the excruciating video of George Floyd’s death a watershed event. And all the while, the Marxist Black Lives Matter organization made lucrative work of elevating and exacerbating the problem to justify its own existence and revenue.

Thus, the war on cops has only escalated.

The result has been ugly, both for cops and the black community. On the one hand, police have pulled back on some enforcement efforts. Cops around the country are also quitting in droves. The result of what has been dubbed the “Ferguson Effect” has been increased crime and lost black lives.

Nevertheless, police are losing their lives at a drastically higher rate. According to the Washington Examiner’s analysis, “The number of police officers intentionally rammed by vehicles, killed by gunfire, or stabbed to death has increased over 40% throughout the first six months of 2021 compared to last year as crime in major cities in the United States continues to rise.”

Our End of Watch tribute page bears witness to the individual lives lost.

It is against that backdrop, as well as riots specific to Portland, that all 50 members of the city’s Rapid Response Team (RRT) resigned. The specific straw that broke the camel’s back was the dubious indictment of Officer Corey Budworth for allegedly assaulting a rioting photographer last year. She already received a $50,000 settlement from the city.

The resignations sent Democrat Mayor Ted Wheeler scrambling to come up with officers who would respond to yet more nights of unrest late last week. But other Democrats are scoffing. Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty, an advocate of defunding police (to the tune of $15 million in Portland last year), crowed that the “good ol’ boy network is crumbling” and that the city didn’t need the “rogue” response team anyway. Moreover, Hardesty basically said the cops can’t quit because they’re fired: “We should formally disband the RRT, but through Council action.”

How’s her plan working out for Portland? The Washington Times reports, “The police bureau logged 453 shootings from January through May, more than double the 200 shootings during the same period in 2020. There have been 42 homicides versus just nine at this time last year.”

Police officers aren’t perfect, but no one hates a bad cop more than good cops. And the overwhelming vast majority of cops are good — just trying to do their jobs and get home safely at the end of their shift. That’s getting harder all the time given the deadly violence escalating around the country, perpetrated by lawless leftists with a lot of winking and nodding coming from Democrat power brokers. That must end.

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