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Charges dismissed against Portland police officer accused of hitting photographer with baton

<i>Oregon Justice Resource Center</i><br/>The Oregon Justice Reform Center released a video in which Corey Budworth apologized to photographer Teri Jacobs
Oregon Justice Resource Center
The Oregon Justice Reform Center released a video in which Corey Budworth apologized to photographer Teri Jacobs "for unnecessarily hitting (Jacobs) in the head" during an August 2020 protest.

By Cheri Mossburg and Emma Tucker, CNN

(CNN) — Assault charges have been dismissed against an Oregon police officer who admitted to hitting a photographer in the head with his baton during a demonstration in the wake of George Floyd’s death in the summer of 2020, court records show.

Officer Corey Budworth was charged with fourth-degree battery after a viral video posted on social media captured him allegedly striking photographer Teri Jacobs with a baton in August 2020 and then striking her a second time while she was on the ground before he walked away.

Multnomah County court records reviewed by CNN show Judge Celia Howes on Friday dismissed the charges against Budworth and the case was closed.

Budworth apologized to Jacobs in a video released by the Oregon Justice Reform Center. It’s not clear when the video was made.

“I acknowledge the physical and emotional harm my actions caused, and I’m committed to ensure that I do not cause this kind of harm moving forward,” Budworth said in the video. “I have had the opportunity to meet with Miss Jacobs and speak with her through restorative justice. Through this insightful and challenging process, I had the opportunity to apologize to her privately.”

“During my reflection of the evening, the force used against Miss Jacobs could have been avoided and I’m sorry, Miss Jacobs, for unnecessarily hitting you in the head with my baton,” Budworth continuued. “I understand the harm that was caused was not limited to Miss Jacobs and was felt by others in the community when there was a great distrust of law enforcement.”

In a response shared by the center, Jacobs said: “Although it can’t change what happened to me that night, he admitted that his actions were wrong and pledged to do better himself, as well as facilitate changes in the PPB (Portland Police Bureau) that would help prevent this type of police brutality from happening in the future.”

CNN has reached out to Budworth’s attorney for additional comment.

Officer was member of crowd control team

Budworth was assigned to the Portland police department’s crowd control team – the Rapid Response Team – at the time of the incident and had been a member for four years. The unit, described by the department as a voluntary team focused on crowd events that included a threat of harm to the community, was deployed during the summer 2020 protests ignited by the murder of Floyd by former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.

One day after a Multnomah County grand jury handed down an indictment against Budworth in June 2021, about 50 officers assigned to the team resigned because of what their union called a “politically driven” decision to indict a member on criminal charges. The officers who resigned their positions on the team returned to their regular assignments.

Before its disbandment, the team was built from officers across the department and deployed to protests, and the officers were trained in crowd management and crowd control. It had undergone advanced training to handle public safety at crowd events and natural disasters, CNN previously reported.

Former acting Portland Police Chief Chris Davis said at the time the resignations were not just a result of the indictment, but also “tremendous amounts of stress that has been placed on our entire organization and certainly the members” of the Rapid Response Team through more than 150 nights of unrest in the city.

In the wake of the indictment, the Portland Police Association described the incident as happening during a “chaotic night of burning and destruction” and said it was in accordance with their training and had been reviewed by the police department’s experts.

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