[WATCH] Oregon Lawmaker Charged in December Breach of OR Capitol
A Republican lawmaker in Oregon is facing charges after being caught on a surveillance camera letting violent far-right demonstrators into the state Capitol in Salem during a Dec. 21 special session. Rep. Mike Nearman (ironically representing the town of Independence, OR) was criminally charged on Friday with first-degree official misconduct and second-degree criminal trespass. Nearman had been under investigation since late January for enabling the breach.
At least three people who participated in the Salem protest went on to participate in the attack on the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on January 6th.
As we first reported in January, after lawmakers met in a special legislative session to take up COVID-19 relief that day, surveillance footage showed Nearman exiting the locked Capitol building into a throng of protesters who were trying to get inside the statehouse. In doing so, he appeared to purposefully grant entrance to far-right groups demanding an end to ongoing restrictions related to COVID-19.
#BreakingNews @Oregon_GOP Rep. Mike Nearman charged for allowing right-wing demonstrators into the State Capitol building in Salem in December. Charges:
1. Official Misconduct in the First Degree
2. Criminal Trespass in the Second Degree
See thread for video https://t.co/MQGDHs9AJt pic.twitter.com/X9Juv954Bc
— Dan Tilkin (@DanTilkinKOIN6) April 30, 2021
Shortly after that breach, demonstrators scuffled with state troopers and Salem police. One man is accused of spraying officers with bear mace, allowing the crowd to make their way further into the building. Several people were arrested before the Capitol was cleared, and members of the crowd went on to shatter glass doors and assault journalists outside the building. Nearman, meanwhile, promptly walked around the building and entered on the opposite side.
Nearman has a court appearance scheduled for May 11. You can see the footage of Nearman, below.