Nearman Likely Meant to Leave Door Open

The investigation into the actions of Representative Mike Nearman found that Nearman “more likely than not” purposefully let far-right protestors into the Capitol building on December 21, 2020. Attorney Melissa Healy stated in a seven-page report concerning the matter that evidence supports the finding that Nearman “intentionally aided demonstrators.” 

After Nearman left the Capitol building and allowed the protestors – some armed with guns – access, several officers on scene were sprayed with bear mace, journalists were assaulted, and glass doors were shattered. As these attacks were happening, Nearman walked around the building and reentered via the opposite side approximately six minutes later.  

Nearman’s actions were reported January 7 by Oregon Public Broadcasting, and the Oregon State Police released video evidence of his actions to the media the next day. January 14, Nearman defended his actions, saying he believes that legislative proceedings should be open to the public. At the time, the building was closed due to COVID-19 restrictions. 

Additionally, Nearman was sent a $2,712 bill for damages to the Capitol building. The bill includes charges for several gallons of paint, a wall-mounted hand sanitizer dispenser, and unspecified repairs. 

The four-member House Conduct Committee will look into the charges against Nearman in a hearing set for June 9. Additionally, the Marion County District Attorney has charged Nearman with two misdemeanors in connection with the incident. 

By Sally K Lehman