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SALEM Ore. — A man wanted for allegedly assaulting reporters during a protest at Oregon's state capitol last week has turned himself in to Oregon State Police, the agency says.
Lawmakers gathered in Salem last Monday for a special session to address coronavirus relief. The session drew groups of protesters, some of whom railed against COVID-19 measures that have shut the Capitol to the public. OSP said that there were television screens set up outside of the building for people to monitor the session.
Troopers had checked and secured the Capitol doors, but around 8:30 a.m. a door was opened by someone exiting the building, and protesters pushed into the vestibule within before being confronted by OSP troopers.
OSP said that the meeting devolved into a shoving match, and one protester sprayed a "chemical irritant" — mace, pepper spray, or bear spray — within. Troopers shot inert pepper balls at the crowd, which contained a harmless powder instead of the usual chemical, and contained them in the vestibule.
Police say that they issued multiple warnings for the crowd to leave or they would be arrested for trespassing. One protester again sprayed a chemical irritant at police, and OSP said that someone set off a smoke-producing device.
During the scuffle, police arrested 41-year-old Ryan Lyles for Felon in Possession of Body Armor and Unlawful Use of Mace. Two other men who remained in the vestibule, 75-year-old Ronald Vanvlack and 53-year-old Jerry Dyerson, were charged with Criminal Trespass and Disorderly Conduct.
By 1:30 p.m., OSP said that the crowd once more tried to push through a door on the west side of the Capitol building, breaking a window. Officers arrested 35-year-old Jeremiah Pruitt for Criminal Mischief and Disorderly Conduct.
Police later identified a man who tried to break in through the west door and allegedly attacked two reporters as 40-year-old Jeremy Roberts. Troopers were unable to find and arrest him at the scene.
OSP issued an update on Monday, indicating that Roberts had turned himself in on Sunday afternoon. Troopers lodged him at the Marion County Jail on charges of Criminal Mischief, Disorderly Conduct, Assault, Harassment, Probation Violation Warrant.
Despite the protest and attempted break-ins, OSP said that the special session continued throughout the day uninterrupted.