GOP Rep Mike Nearman seen on CCTV letting rightwing protesters into Oregon Capitol raises question of collusion

On December 21, 2020, Republican Rep. Mike Nearman is seen leaving the building and footage from inside the Oregon State Capitol building shows he left the door open just enough for the volatile demonstrators to get in


                            GOP Rep Mike Nearman seen on CCTV letting rightwing protesters into Oregon Capitol raises question of collusion
(Twitter/ screengrab courtesy of the Oregon State Legislature)

Newly released security footage on Friday shows an Oregon lawmaker holding the door open for armed, far-right demonstrators to barge into the Oregon State Capitol building during a demonstration in December.  

On December 21, 2020, at about 8.30 AM, Republican Rep. Mike Nearman is seen leaving the building and in doing so, the footage from inside the Oregon State Capitol building in Salem, Oregon, shows that he left the door open just enough for the volatile demonstrators to get in. 

"HEY LOOK! Surveillance video of the Oregon State Capitol showing: << wait for it >> @Oregon_GOP Rep. Mike Nearman opening the door for some really bad guys on December 21, 2020. Thanks be to god, that he made stupid people like Mike. @ORStatePolice is investigating," a user shared on Twitter. 



 

On Thursday, Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek reportedly revealed Republican Rep Mike Nearman "did open a door to let demonstrators into the building," and said that "was a serious, serious breach of public trust". Speaker Kotek said House leaders are reviewing their options. "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."

On that day, lawmakers were holding a special session to address the coronavirus pandemic. The building was closed to the public, but in the video, Nearman is seen pushing open an interior set of doors, and then quickly rushing across a short vestibule to get to the street-side door. Nearman pushes the street door open just wide enough for him to get out and to allow a casually-dressed man carrying an American flag to get inside the Capitol building. Because of that inlet, the layman managed to catch the interior door before it closed.  

The protest was organized by the far-right group Patriot Prayer in opposition to statewide COVID-19 mandates. Some of the protesters were reported to have been armed and an investigation has now been initiated against Nearman by Oregon State Police. Some of the demonstrators who entered the building were reportedly carrying rifles and not wearing face masks. They physically attacked journalists who were on-site that day. According to a report in The Oregonian, at least one person was arrested after trying to enter the Capitol by breaking the window in a door. At least two people have so far been arrested on charges related to the breach.

While many entered the building that day, one person of interest in Joey Gibson, the leader of the far-right group Patriot Prayer, who has been involved in multiple, recent right- and left-wing clashes in Portland. 

This begs the question that what happened that morning was an inside job. And many on Twitter are confident it is so with many calling for his removal from office. "Nearman aided & abetted right wing terrorists to attack the Oregon Capitol. He betrayed his oath & country and unfit to hold office. The investigation should conclude with being removed immediately. After 1/6 it is obvious the GOP are colluding with terrorists on an ongoing basis," one tweeted. "It's clear Nearman opened the door for this mob. He must be ousted from office and criminally charged," another added.



 



 

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