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Oregon lawmaker, who opened state capital to far-right protesters, faces charges: NPR



Representative Mike Niederm, R-Polk County, spoke with colleagues on the floor of the House on April 11, 2019 at the Capitol in Salem, Oregon. He faces criminal charges after allowing far-right protesters to violate the state Capitol in December 2020.

Kaylee Domzalski / OPB


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Representative Mike Niederm, R-Polk County, spoke with colleagues on the floor of the House on April 11, 2019 at the Capitol in Salem, Oregon. He faces criminal charges after allowing far-right protesters to violate the state Capitol in December 2020.

Kaylee Domzalski / OPB

Oregon State Representative Mike Niederm, a Republican from Polk County who allowed far-right protesters to violate Capitol State in December, now faces criminal charges.

According to Nizman’s court records, he was charged with a first-degree misconduct, a Class A crime and a second-degree crime with a Class C crime.

The decision to be charged near the months-long state police investigation began on December 21st. As lawmakers met in a special legislative session to take relief for COVID-19 that day, surveillance footage showed Nearman coming out of the locked Capitol building in a crowd of protesters trying to enter the cabinet. In this way, it appears to be purposefully giving access to far-right groups with a request to end the ongoing restrictions on COVID-19.

Security camera footage shows State Secretary Mike Nordman opening the doors of the Capitol building in Oregon to far-right protesters on December 21, 2020. Credit: Oregon Legislature

Shortly after the violation, protesters clashed with state troops and Salem police. One man is accused of spraying officers with a bear’s mace, allowing the crowd to make their way further into the building. Several people were arrested before the Capitol was liberated, and members of the mob continued to break glass doors and attack journalists in front of the building. Meanwhile, the loved one quickly walked around the building and entered from the other side.

At least three people who protested against Salem continued to take part in the attack on the US Capitol in Washington

Nearman did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday.

The court documents filed by the Marion County District Attorney’s Office set out the allegations.

According to the formal indictment for misconduct, prosecutors said that on December 21, Nearman “as a civil servant committed an illegal and deliberate act that constituted an unauthorized exercise of his official duties with the intent to benefit or harm another.”

Prosecutors also said the charge of violating the law, “forming part of a general scheme or plan,” helped illegally and helped “another enter illegally and knowingly and stay in and on the Oregon Capitol.”

According to court documents, Nearman is due to appear in Marion District Court at 9 a.m. on May 11. Failure to appear, the documents say, will lead to an arrest warrant.

The charges, announced Friday, are just one aspect of the consequences Nickman faces from the incident.

Democratic lawmakers filed a formal complaint in January, accusing Blizk of exposing lawmakers, officials and law enforcement officials to their actions.

“He allowed a group of riots to enter the Capitol, despite his knowledge that only authorized personnel were allowed in the building due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the complaint said, calling the Man’s actions “completely unacceptable, reckless and so severe that it will affect people’s ability to feel safe working at the Capitol or even the legislature. “

The complaint calls for an investigation into whether Nearman’s actions violate workplace rules, a decision that will ultimately be made by a parliamentary committee evenly distributed among Democrats and Republicans. A loved one may face consequences ranging from counseling to expulsion if lawmakers conclude that he or she has violated legislative policy.

It is unclear when the matter could be brought before the Oregon House Hearing Committee.

As this process unfolded, Nearman saw his ability to influence bills during the legislative session greatly diminished. He was removed from all his former legislative committees and agreed to hand over his Capitol access badge and provide 24-hour notice before coming to the building. Nearman still appears regularly at House floor meetings.

The MP also faces a rather large bill. In early March, the legislature billed Nearman more than $ 2,700 for repairs after the December invasion. But the body has limited ability to force Nearman to pay the section. He had not responded to the invoice by Thursday, interim legislative administrator Brett Haynes said.

Nearman did not say much about his role in the violation, but in a statement in January, he stressed his conviction that the Capitol should be open to the general public, a position many of his Republican counterparts agree with. The building has been closed since March 2020, prompting MPs to hold hearings and testify in practice during the next three special sessions and this year’s regular legislative session.

“I do not approve of or participate in the violence,” the Nearman statement said. I think that when Article IV, Section 14 of the Oregon Constitution says that the legislative process will be “open,” it means open, and just as anyone who has spent the last nine months staring at a screen making virtual meetings will tell you it is not the same as being open. “

The surveillance video, shot on Dec. 21 at the Oregon State Capitol, shows a crowd of protesters trying to make their way past Oregon State Police.

Oregon State Police


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Oregon State Police


The surveillance video, shot on Dec. 21 at the Oregon State Capitol, shows a crowd of protesters trying to make their way past Oregon State Police.

Oregon State Police

In his statement, Nearman suggested that he was the victim of a political attack and that he was being subjected to a “justice mob”.

After charges were filed Friday, House Speaker Tina Kotek, D-Portland, reiterated her conviction that Nearman should resign.

“Representative. Nearman put everyone in the Capitol in serious danger and created fear among Capitol staff and lawmakers,” Kotek said in a statement to OPB. “I called on him to resign in January and renew his call in light of today’s accusations.”

As Democrats and leftist groups attacked Niedermann, his Republican counterparts had nothing to say about his actions. In one of his only statements on the issue, Republican Parliament Speaker Christine Drazan of Kenby said in January that he would support the outcome of a criminal investigation.

“If the investigation finds that the actions taken are criminal, lawmakers are not above the law and will be held accountable,” Drazan said in a statement. “As we reaffirm the need for due process and the right of the public to be fully involved in the work of the legislature, we are committed to protecting public safety and accountability to those who would deliberately undermine this commitment.”

Drazan was not immediately available Friday to answer questions about whether the role of Middle among Republicans in the House would change in light of the allegations, a spokesman said.

One of the most conservative Republicans in the House, Nearman has been a lawmaker since 2015. At the time, he was repeatedly linked to right-wing demonstrations. In 2017, his then-assistant lawmaker gave a gun to a convicted felon, who then brought him to a pro-Trump demonstration in the Capitol, Oregonian / OregonLive reported. Court records show that Angela Roman’s aide pleaded guilty to violating the incident.

Nearman’s commitment to right-wing causes is not noticeable, despite his recent controversy. On Saturday, he is scheduled to attend a rally in Salem in support of gun rights along with former Congressman candidate and supporter of QAnon conspiracy theory Joe Rae Perkins, according to a flyer for the event.


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