Newly released security video shows an Oregon lawmaker holding the door open for armed, far-right demonstrators to illegally enter the Oregon State Capitol building last December.
The footage from inside the Oregon State Capitol building in Salem, Oregon, shows Republican Rep. Mike Nearman leaving the building at about 8.30am on December 21, 2020.
On that day, lawmakers were holding a special session to address the coronavirus pandemic. The building was closed to the public.
Rep. Mike Nearman is seen leaving the Oregon Capitol building at about 8.30am on December 21, 2020. As he leaves, he pushes open the door and far-right protesters slip past him
The protesters are seen inside the Capitol building, holding open an inner door and gesturing for fellow protesters to enter the building, too
Nearman is seen in the video pushing open an interior set of doors, before quickly crossing a short vestibule to get to the street-side door.
As Nearman pushes the street door open and exits the building, a casually-dressed man – carrying an American flag – brushes past Nearman and hurries into the Capitol building, managing to catch the interior door before it closes. A second casually-dressed man then appears, propping open the street door.
Both men can be seen gesturing for people outside, off camera, to enter the building. Within seconds, people – identified as being far-right protesters – are seen trickling into the building.
It takes about 30 seconds for state police officers to rush into the lobby from a different part of the building and forcibly push the interlopers back out onto the street.
Seconds later, protesters can be seen arguing with the police and trying to push their way back into the building, by which point Salem police and state troopers have also arrived as backup for the state troopers.
Oregon State Police are seen rushing into the vestibule to ward off protesters who are inside
Police are then seen gathering to fend off the protesters who’ve tried to enter the building
On Thursday, it was announced that Nearman (pictured) is being investigated by Oregon State Police for holding the door open to the state Capitol building
Far-right protesters are seen clashing with police outside the Oregon Capitol Building on December 21 as they tried to enter the building which was closed to the public
Police are seeing being sprayed with mace by far-right protesters on December 21 outside the Oregon State Capitol building
Trump supporters are seen waving flags outside the Oregon Capitol building December 21
A demonstrator is seen screaming at Salem Police while trying to get inside the Capitol building on December 21 during the far-right protest
During the incident, police were pepper-sprayed and four protesters were arrested.
On Thursday, House Speaker Tina Kotek confirmed that Nearman ‘did open a door to let demonstrators into the building,’ and said that ‘was a serious, serious breach of public trust,’ KOIN reported.
Some of the protesters were reported to have been armed and Nearman is now being investigated by Oregon State Police.
‘We have consulted employee services as well as the Legislative Equity Office about “Is this a hostile workplace violation? Should it go through the conduct committee?” That’s a potential,’ Kotek said, according to KGW.
‘First, we’ve been waiting to give a little bit of space for Oregon State Police to conduct their criminal investigation.’
A spokesman for Oregon State Police told the news station charges in this case would be decided by prosecutors.
The demonstrators, some of which were carrying rifles and several of whom were not wearing face masks, were attempting to disrupt the special session that was being held as part of their objections to Oregon’s coronavirus restrictions, the Oregonian reported.
Demonstrators were said to have physically attacked journalists who were on site during the incident and at least one person was arrested after trying to enter the building by breaking a window in a door.
Among those who were able to get inside the building was Joey Gibson, the leader of the far-right group Patriot Prayer. He has been previously accused riot following a brawl at a bar in Northeast Portland and has been involved in multiple, recent right- and left-wing clashes in Portland.