PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — New surveillance video obtained by KOIN 6 News shows what Rep. Mike Nearman did in the minutes after he opened a door and let protesters into the Oregon State Capitol on December 21, 2020, interrupting a special legislative session called to deal with pandemic-related issues.
Just before 8:30 a.m. that day, Nearman — a Republican from Independence — exits a side door of the Capitol and does nothing to stop protesters from entering. Two men rush in, hold 2 doors open and motion for other protesters to join them by waving their hands.
In the newly obtained video, Nearman is seen walking around the corner to where a crowd has gathered at the west entrance. At the same time, OSP troopers show up at the door he left open and push the protesters back as Nearman makes his way through the crowd. More protesters move toward the open door.
The video also shows 2 police officers retreating from protesters.
Two minutes after Nearman opened the door, he walked west away from the Capitol and out of view — at the same time a steady flow of protesters is moving toward the door he opened. Tensions grow as more protesters gather and demand they have the right to be in the building while lawmakers are in session.
About the same time, a police car races down the street on the south side of the State Capitol.
Four minutes 36 seconds after he opened the door, Nearman appears on a sidewalk outside the building. At the south entrance, he uses his security pass to unlock the door, then re-enters the Capitol where the House continued in session.
Back at the door he opened, rioters tried to force their way into the Capitol. At least one person used bear spray on the officers and another hit officers with a flag.
The troopers pull back deeper into the building. The crowd begins pouring in — and when they met law enforcement officers at the glass doors they sang the National Anthem.
The rioters began to chant as a man — later identified as Chandler Pappas — breaks open the door before some kind of smoke is released, allowing police to push the protesters back.
Oregon Speaker of the House Tina Kotek fined Nearman and hit him with sanctions, including stripping him of his committee assignments.
Nearman has not apologized for his actions.
“I hope for due process and not the mob justice to which Speaker Kotek is subjecting me,” Nearman told the Portland Tribune. He added that when “the Oregon Constitution says that the legislative proceedings shall be open, it means open.”