“He’s a fine man.”
West Virginia Delegate Derrick Evans’ grandmother said this to me as her grandson was taken into federal custody.
— Chad Hedrick (@WSAZChadHedrick) January 9, 2021
A West Virginia state delegate has been charged after being at the Wednesday raid of the U.S. Capitol Building, in which Trump supporters rushed into the premises.
Derrick Evans, the Republican West Virginia state legislator who posted a video of himself shouting “We’re in! We’re in baby!” while storming the Capitol, has been charged with entering a restricted area, federal prosecutors say.
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) January 8, 2021
The arrest of Derrick Evans was caught on video by WSAZ reporter Chad Hedrick.
“He’s a fine man,” said a woman who identified herself as Evans’ grandmother. She had been asked if she had anything to say on his behalf. The woman, apparently exasperated by what was unfolding at the residence, then appeared to sarcastically thank President Donald Trump for “inviting a riot.”
As seen on video, Evans, a Republican lawmaker for the state’s 19th District in the House of Delegates, narrated as he was in a crowd that rushed the Capitol. He and other Trump supporters were there to oppose the U.S. Congress’ certification of the victory of President-elect Joe Biden. At the rally, Trump repeated the completely baseless and false claim that the election was stolen from him.
“The door’s cracked,” Evans said in exuberant narration. “Yes. We’re going in. They’re in, they’re in, they’re in.”
Derrick Evans, a newly elected lawmaker from West Virginia, livestreamed video showing him and a mob of rioters forcing their way into the U.S. Capitol.
Evans later deleted the video, but a version of it was shared by West Virginia Democrat Paula Jean Swearengin pic.twitter.com/l4fVOtn7m8
— Bloomberg Quicktake (@Quicktake) January 7, 2021
In a livestream reported by NBC, he was outside the Capitol on Wednesday afternoon when he said, “Bring the tear gas. We don’t care. We’re taking this country back whether you like it or not. Today’s a test run. We’re taking this country back.”
Attorney John Bryan did not discuss the specific criminal claim against his client, telling Law&Crime in an email Friday afternoon that he has not seen the complaint.
Up to this point, his position is that Evans did not break any law. In a letter published on Thursday, Bryan wrote that his client would not resign from office. He asserted the lawmaker, who he described as also being an independent activist and journalist, was not involved with “the group of violent and destructive protestors” elsewhere at the Capitol. Bryan drew a distinction between the East side of the Capitol (where he placed Evans) and the West side (where he placed the main body of the mob).
From the letter:
…at the entrance through where Mr. Evans entered the Capitol, there had been no physical destruction, nor forced entry, of the door or windows by the crowd. Instead, the doors were physically opened – either by Capitol Police, or by other protestors who were already inside. At that point, the group surged in.
From Mr. Evans point of view in the crowd, it appeared that the crowd was being allowed by law enforcement into the Capitol. He was not at the front of the group. Given the sheer size of the group walking in, Mr. Evans had no choice but to enter. Evans continued to ﬁlm once inside. His footage shows that members of the public wer ealready inside the Capitol by the time he entered. Evans’ footage shows no riotous behavior taking place at that time. Protesters can be observed calmly walking around. Upon entering, Evans observed a police ofﬁcer to his right, who was calmly standing watch inside the doorway through which he entered.
In Bryan’s statement, he said that “no members of the protests were assaulting or resisting the officer in any way,” and the officer did not ask them to leave.
“Instead, the ofﬁcer gave Evans a ‘ﬁst-bump’ which can be observed on the video footage,” he said. “This is consistent with Evans obviously having a belief that the crowd was being allowed into this public area of the Capitol at that time. Again, he had no knowledge of what had already occurred on the other side of the Capitol grounds.”
[Screengrab via Chad Hedrick]
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]