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GOP Lawmaker Charged with Letting Far-Right Protesters into Oregon Capitol Building During December Clash


A lawmaker in Oregon was charged on Friday with letting in far-right protesters into the state Capitol Building, which was closed to the public amid the COVID-19 pandemic, during a violent demonstration in December. As seen on surveillance footage, a man identified as Rep. Mike Nearman (R-District 23) exited out a glass door, passing by a hat-wearing man who rushed past him. Another individual held the glass door open. The two intruders beckoned others in. State police soon arrived, shoving out the group and continuing to face off with them at the opened entrance.

The lawmaker faces a count each of official misconduct in the first degree, and criminal trespass in the second degree. Both charges are misdemeanors. His office did not immediately respond to a Law&Crime request for comment.

“I don’t condone violence nor participate in it,” Nearman said in a statement in January after the release of the surveillance footage, according to CNN. “I do think that when Article IV, Section 14 of the Oregon Constitution says that the legislative proceedings shall be ‘open,’ it means open, and as anyone who has spent the last nine months staring at a screen doing virtual meetings will tell you, it’s not the same thing as being open.”

Right-wingers went to the state Capitol that December 21 amid frustration over COVID-19 lockdowns and then-President Donald Trump’s incessant lies that the 2020 election was stolen from him. As seen on video, a number of them tried to break in. Others were charged with violent acts. Ryan Lyles, for example, allegedly used mace in confrontations with troopers. Jeremy Roberts was charged with attacking journalists.

Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol Building in a similar incident the following January 6, attempting to stop lawmakers from counting Electoral College votes in favor of President Joe Biden.

[Screengrab in KOIN]

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