Oregon Senator Charged With Misdemeanor After Being Accused of Unlocking Capitol Door For Protestors

Two misdemeanor charges have been filed against an Oregon state senator suspected of allowing protestors into the closed state Capitol building while lawmakers discussed Covid-19 restrictions.

According to court records, Republican Rep. Mike Nearman was charged on Friday with first-degree official misconduct and second-degree criminal trespass.

Nearman is accused of “unlawfully and knowingly perform(ing) an act which constituted an unauthorized exercise of his official duties, with intent to obtain a benefit or to harm another.” He is scheduled to be arraigned on May 11th, according to court records.

On December 21, Nearman was seen exiting the Capitol through a locked door surrounded by anti-restriction demonstrators, allowing the protesters to flood into the building.

Protesters were not allowed to enter the main chamber, but there was a physical altercation with officers during which “a protester sprayed some kind of chemical irritant,” according to Oregon State Police.

“Rep. Nearman put every person in the Capitol in serious danger and created fear among Capitol staff and legislators,” said Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek wrote on Twitter after the charges were filed.

“I don’t condone violence nor participate in it. I do think that when…the Oregon Constitution says that the legislative proceedings shall be ‘open,’ it means open, and as anyone who has spent the last nine months staring at a screen doing virtual meetings will tell you, it’s not the same thing as being open,” Nearman said in a written statement after the surveillance video was initially released.

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