An Oregon Republican state lawmaker who was captured on surveillance video allowing protesters to enter the state capitol in December was charged on Friday with the building violation, which led to a conflict between officers and demonstrators.
Lawmaker Representative Mike Nearman, 57, has been charged with first-degree official misconduct and second-degree trespassing, court documents show.
Marion County prosecutors said in court documents that Mr. Nearman, “as a public servant, unlawfully and knowingly committed an act which constituted an unauthorized exercise of his official duties, with the intention of obtaining an advantage. or harm others.
On December 21, while lawmakers were in session, Mr. Nearman calmly walked through a side door, allowing several protesters, many unmasked and holding US flags or pro-Trump placards, inside the US Capitol. ‘State, in Salem. The moment was captured by widely broadcast CCTV of the breach.
Mr Nearman continued to walk as the protesters entered and were quickly confronted by local and state police, who were pushed around by some of the protesters as they struggled to enter the building.
The footage showed protesters breaking police hats and beating police officers, some of whom were wearing riot gear.
At least five people were arrested in the breach, according to the Associated Press. A man has been charged after assaulting police officers with bear spray.
More than 30 people entered the lobby and around 150 protesters gathered right outside the door, according to the state’s legislative administrator.
Mr Nearman, a former software engineer who lives just north of Independence and was elected in 2014, did not immediately respond to emails seeking comment on Saturday. We didn’t know if he had a lawyer.
Mr Nearman, a conservative Republican who called on voters to prove their citizenship in order to vote, sued Governor Kate Brown in October over the coronavirus restrictions she had put in place. He was also among a dozen Oregon lawmakers who urged the state attorney general to join a lawsuit in Texas to overturn the 2020 presidential election results in four states.
A woman who answered the phone at a number listed on Mr Nearman’s website declined to comment.
“We can’t talk,” she said. “We have Covid.”
Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek, a Democrat, renewed her call for Nearman’s resignation on Friday.
“Representative. Nearman has put every person on the Capitol in grave danger and created fear among Capitol staff and lawmakers.” she said on Twitter.
Republican Minority Leader Representative Christine Drazan said in a statement lawmakers “are not above the law.”
“State legislators are the voices of their community,” she said. “The charges have been laid in Marion County Circuit Court and I have no doubts that the court process will be fair and objective.”
“I do not tolerate violence and I do not participate in it,” Nearman said in January, according to the Salem Statesman Journal. “I hope for due process, not popular justice to which President Kotek subjects me.”
In a statement in January, Ms Kotek said Mr Nearman had been dismissed from his duties on the committee. The announcement came five days after hundreds of rioters crashed through barricades in Washington and stormed the United States Capitol.
Ms Kotek said Mr Nearman’s actions on December 21 allowed “rioters” trying to break into the Third Special Session of the Legislature to enter the State Capitol.
“Representative Nearman has put every person on the Capitol in grave danger,” Ms. Kotek said. “The consequences could have been much worse if the police had not intervened so quickly. His actions created immense fear among lawmakers and Capitol staff.
She said she sent him a bill for $ 2,000 to cover damage caused by the protesters.
On January 11, Mr Nearman, wearing a mask, read a prepared statement on the ground and agreed to revoke his badge access to the Capitol.
He also agreed that he would give 24 hours’ notice to the Legislative Administrator and the Legislative Equity Office so that “arrangements can be made to allow me to enter the building and notify everyone of my presence.” the occupants of the Capitol ”.
“I will not allow any unauthorized personnel to enter the Capitol,” Mr. Nearman said.
Ms Kotek said the security measures imposed on Mr Nearman “will alert all occupants of the Capitol so that they can adjust their plans if they do not feel safe working in the building while he is present.