Video shows state lawmaker let in protesters to Oregon Capitol

Protests

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Video released on Friday shows an Oregon state lawmaker allow in right-wing protesters to the Capitol building during a demonstration last month.

On Thursday, House Speaker Tina Kotek revealed state Rep. Mike Nearman (R-Independence) “did open a door to let demonstrators into the building,” adding that it “was a serious, serious breach of public trust.”

Nearman is accused of letting in the protesters, some of whom were armed, while the building was closed to the public during a special session to address the ongoing pandemic on Dec. 21. Nearman is under investigation by Oregon State Police.

The video shows Nearman walk out of the building, and protesters quickly enter before the doors shut behind him.

Officers quickly respond to the open doors and try to push out the demonstrators. The standoff at the door between protesters and officers lasted for several minutes. Eventually, police are pepper-sprayed and retreat into the building, and protesters flood into the building through the doors Nearman had opened.

Four protesters were arrested that day.

Among those who went inside the Oregon Capitol was Joey Gibson, the leader of the far-right group Patriot Prayer. In the surveillance video, Gibson appears in the doorway of the Capitol holding a bullhorn. He’s later seen with the same bullhorn as protesters supporting President Donald Trump tried to force open inner doors to the Capitol as Oregon State Police tried to repel him.

Gibson is already accused of riot for a brawl at a bar in Northeast Portland and has been part of many of the recent right- and left-wing clashes in Portland.

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