A surveillance camera caught Oregon state Rep. Mike Nearman opening a locked door of the state Capitol and allowing a gang of far-right antimaskers to illegally enter the building on December 21 and disrupt proceedings. He's now been charged with first-degree official misconduct, a class A misdemeanor, and second-degree criminal trespass, a class C misdemeanor.
The decision to charge Nearman follows a months-long investigation by state police that began Dec. 21. As 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.
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.
[Image: Oregon State Police]