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Law and Justice

Man Accused Of Attacking 2 Journalists At Oregon Capitol Protests Turns Himself In

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Dirk VanderHart
/
OPB
Police block an entryway to the Oregon Capitol as far-right protesters attempt to gain access on Dec. 21, 2020.

Jeremy Roberts, 40, is one of several people arrested in connection with protests during a special legislative session Dec. 21.

A man accused of attacking two journalists and attempting to gain entrance to the Oregon State Capitol during a protest in Salem last week has turned himself in to the state police.

The Oregon State Police announced Monday that Jeremy Roberts, 40, was booked at the Marion County Jail on Sunday afternoon for charges of criminal mischief, disorderly conduct, assault, harassment and a probation violation.

Police had been trying to locate Roberts after demonstrations turned violent outside the Oregon State Capitol on Dec. 21 as lawmakers met inside for a special legislative session on pandemic-related relief. The protesters, who were calling for lawmakers to end restrictions aimed at curbing the pandemic, tried to push into the capitol, which is closed to the public during the pandemic. The demonstrators shattered the glass doors of the building, harassed journalists covering the event and clashed with police in the entranceway. Troopers with the Oregon State Police ultimately declared the protest an unlawful assembly and deployed pepper balls.

According to court documents, Roberts is accused of engaging in “violent, tumultuous and threatening behavior,” damaging a door and attacking Brian Hayes, a photojournalist with the Statesman Journal, and Sergio Olmos, a reporter with OPB.

Roberts’ is one of several arrests stemming from last week’s protests. Oregon State Police said officials have charged two men who remained in the capitol’s vestibule after warnings to leave — Ronald Vanvlack, 75, and Jerry Dyerson, 53 — with criminal trespassing and disorderly conduct. Ryan Lyles, 41, also was arrested for possession of body armor and unlawful use of mace, and Jeremiah Pruitt, 35, was arrested for criminal mischief and disorderly conduct.

The groups behind the demonstration have said they plan to hold similar events over pandemic restrictions in the new year. According to recent event fliers, protesters are planning to “occupy” the Oregon Capitol in January and camp out at the Washington Capitol to “lockout” politicians.