Lawmaker faces charges for opening Oregon Capitol door for protesters

Oregon

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — An Oregon state lawmaker who was caught on camera opening up the state Capitol’s doors to right-wing protesters in December is facing criminal charges for the incident.

State Rep. Mike Nearman (R-Independence) has been charged with first-degree official misconduct and second-degree criminal trespass, according to court records filed by the Marion County district attorney’s office. Both are misdemeanors.

The charges were first reported by Oregon Public Broadcasting.

Oregon Capitol surveillance video from the Dec. 21 protest showed how Nearman left the building during a special legislative session to address COVID-19-related challenges, allowing right-wing protesters inside the building. Four people were arrested that day.

Once inside the building, the protesters clashed with Oregon State Police troopers, the video shows. Video surveillance of outside the building showed Nearman then walked around the Oregon Capitol building before entering it again.

Nearman was stripped of his committee assignments by House Speaker Tina Kotek, who also asked him to resign, in January amid the investigation.

He’s slated to be arraigned on the charges on May 11, according to court documents.

KOIN 6 News has reached out to Nearman for a comment on the charges. In January, KOIN 6 News media partner Pamplin Media Group reported Nearman defended his actions, and called for “due process, and not the mob justice to which Speaker Kotek is subjecting me.”

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