Oregon lawmaker faces expulsion in assault on state Capitol

SALEM, Ore. — Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek wants to expel a lawmaker who allowed violent protesters into the state Capitol in December. The House could vote as early as Monday on her resolution.

Rep. Mike Nearman was seen on security cameras opening the door to the capitol, which was closed to the public because of the coronavirus pandemic. He also allegedly told people in a video days beforehand that he would let them in if they texted him.

As lawmakers met in emergency session on Dec. 21 to deal with economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, far-right rioters entered the building. They sprayed chemical irritants at police who finally expelled them. Outside, protesters broke windows on the Capitol and assaulted journalists.

It foreshadowed the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol by rioters spurred on by then President Donald Trump. Several of those who were among the crowds in Salem on Dec. 21 later were in Washington during the U.S. Capitol attack.

In her resolution, Kotek said personnel who were authorized to be in the Oregon Capitol described the events on Dec. 21 as intense and stressful, terrifying and distressing.

“Law enforcement officers were visibly injured and shaken due to the demonstrators’ action,” Kotek added.

“With the concurrence of two-thirds of the members of the House of Representatives, Representative Nearman (shall) be expelled from the House of Representatives,” the resolution says.

The resolution cites the Oregon Constitution, which empowers the House of Representatives to punish a representative for disorderly behavior.

The House calendar showed the resolution was scheduled for a vote later Monday.

Nearman faces two misdemeanor criminal charges and has said he will seek a trial by jury.

Nearman hasn’t responded to repeated interview requests. He did say on a conservative radio show last month: “The Oregon State Police spent over four months investigating me. … Do you think these guys have anything better to do?”

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