Police arrest fifth Oregon Capitol protester ahead of more demonstrations

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A man accused of vandalism and assaulting journalists during a protest at the Oregon State Capitol has turned himself in to police days before more likeminded demonstrations.

According to Oregon State Police, Jeremy Roberts was booked at the Marion County jail late Sunday afternoon after being sought by law enforcement. He is charged with criminal mischief, disorderly conduct, harassment, and assault in the fourth degree.

Roberts is now the fifth suspect accused of attempting to break into the Oregon State Capitol in Salem during a special legislative session on December 21. He is also charged with parole violation related to a case in which he was accused of menacing a person in 2019.

Court documents claim Roberts damaged one of the Capitol building’s doors and attacked photojournalist Brian Hayes of the Statesman Journal and Oregon Public Broadcasting reporter Sergio Olmos.

About 300 protesters held an all-day rally at the Capitol against the state’s health restrictions and demanded the right to testify to lawmakers face-to-face.

The special session was closed to being closed to the general public due to the pandemic and saw Oregon lawmakers gather in-person to pass pandemic and housing relief.

Oregon State Police reported arresting two more men—Ronald Vanvlack and Jerry Dyerson—with criminal trespass and disorderly conduct for breaching the building’s northwest antechamber and refusing to leave.

Around 50 Salem and state police officers were stationed inside the building to hold back the doors while lawmakers met throughout the day. Officers outside declared the demonstration an unlawful assembly and some deployed pepper balls. No tear gas was used.

Oregon State Police Captain Tim Fox said law enforcement is looking into how protesters were able breach the door to the capitol’s northwest antechamber.

A third man, Ryan Lyles, was arrested for unlawful use of mace and possession off body armor. A fourth man, Jeremiah Pruitt was arrested for criminal mischief and disorderly conduct.

The December 21 protest included supporters of President Trump, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Jo Rae Perkins, and Patriot Prayer founder Joey Gibson, who force their way into the building.

Gibson is promoting a rally in Salem organized by Oregon Women for Trump slated for January 1 and another protest at the capitol building on January 6.

According to its Facebook event listing, the Oregon Women for Trump rally event has gained the interest of 566 people while another 177 have indicated they plan on attending.

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