Oregon state lawmaker who opened door for armed protesters kicked off committees, billed for damages
Oregon state Rep. Mike Nearman (R) is facing calls to resign and being billed for damages caused by a group of protesters he allowed to enter the state capitol by opening a door while exiting the building, The Oregonian reported on Tuesday.
The incident occurred on Dec. 21 during a special session on the coronavirus and the state’s response to it. Footage obtained by the Oregonian showed Nearman exiting through two doors, pushing one open which allowed protesters to enter the building.
According to state House Speaker Tina Kotek (D), Nearman has been stripped of his two committee assignments and fined $2,000 for the damages caused by the protesters.
“His actions have created immense fear among legislators and Capitol staff,” Kotek said in a statement released on Monday. “I believe he should resign immediately because he has already breached the public trust and endangered our ability to safely conduct the people’s business.”
When contacted by the Oregonian, Nearman said his attorneys had told him not to speak to the press and that he would be releasing a statement later on Tuesday. State police have confirmed to the newspaper that troopers are investigating Nearman for his actions on that day.
Dozens of protesters, some armed with rifles and pepper spray, entered the statehouse last month. Several attempted to disrupt the legislative session that was going on at the time, but before they could do so, the protesters were intercepted by state troopers and Salem, Ore. police officers.
As the Oregonian reports, at least five people have been arrested in connection to the incident, which came just weeks before Wednesday’s violent assault on the U.S. Capitol in Washington by a crowd of supporters of President Trump.