By John Clise
Tensions are rising at the Capitol complex in Charleston as delegates come to grips with one of their own being part of the hostile protests in Washington yesterday.
Recently elected Delegate Derrick Evans, R-Wayne, livestreamed his entry into the Capitol building with other protestors on social media. Evans livestreamed many of the events throughout the day on his Facebook page, though several of those streams have since been deleted, said he was there as an independent member of the media to document the events of the day. Video of Evans entering the Capitol building can be viewed here through a post from Paula Jean Swearengin.
Evans’ committee assignments include Agriculture and Natural Resources; Government Organization; Industry and Labor; and Technology & Infrastructure
The illegal entry by Trump supporters lead to 52 arrests though Evans was not detained before leaving the building. It also lead to the recovery of several firearms and explosive devices.
House Speaker Roger Hanshaw, R-Clay, issued the following statement regarding the ongoing events at the U.S. Capitol.
“Like most Americans, I am shocked, saddened, angered and disturbed by the images coming out of our nation’s Capitol today,” Speaker Hanshaw said. “The peaceful transfer of power is a bedrock principle of our republic, and is what has held the United States up as that shining city on a hill for nearly 250 years.
“I have not spoken to Delegate Evans about today’s events, I don’t know the specifics of his involvement, I have only seen what has been posted on social media so far, and I’m sure more details may come out soon. He will need to answer to his constituents and colleagues regarding his involvement in what has occurred today.
“While free speech and peaceful protests are a core value of American society, storming government buildings and participating in a violent intentional disruption of one of our nation’s most fundamental political institutions is a crime that should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
“What occurred today is unpatriotic, un-American and I condemn it in the strongest terms possible.”
West Virginia House of Delegates Minority Leader Doug Skaff, Jr. (D-Kanawha) issued the following statement regarding the actions of Delegate Derrick Evans (R-Wayne) at the U.S. Capitol:
“I applaud and agree with Speaker Roger Hanshaw’s statement condemning the actions of Delegate Derrick Evans. In his statement, Speaker Hanshaw argued that peaceful protests are a core value of our society but that storming government buildings and participating in a violent, intentional disruption of our nation’s government is a crime and should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
“Delegate Derrick Evans not only participated in this violent, intentional disruption of government; he helped lead a group that he organized to travel to Washington, D.C. to cause this chaos. This chaos unfortunately resulted in many people being displaced, hurt and contributed to the death of one woman.
“This is unacceptable behavior and conduct unbecoming of an elected official. I am calling on Speaker Hanshaw to suspend Delegate Derrick Evans’ rights, privileges and access to West Virginia State Capitol Building, immediately and indefinitely, to allow for investigation into this incident. Delegate Derrick Evans has made threats on social media directed at other West Virginians, including threats directed at other legislators. Those comments, coupled with his most recent actions at the U.S. Capitol, are cause for alarm and a real safety concern for all those who work at our State Capitol Complex.”
Senate Minority Leader Stephen Baldwin released the following statement on behalf of the Minority Caucus:
“Today, our children must know that this is not how democracy works. Democracy is determined by ballots, not bullets. Democracy rests on the peaceful transfer of power because of free and fair elections. We do not inflict violence on those with whom we disagree. We condemn today’s attack on democracy because this is a nation of laws, order, and decency.
“All of those who participated in today’s attack on the capitol, especially those who unlawfully entered the building and perpetrated acts of violence, should be prosecuted fully by the law that undergirds our democracy.
“We understand that an incoming delegate, Derrick Evans, videoed himself participating in such acts. There is no place for him in the WV Legislature.
“When our state was born, it took tremendous strength to carve West Virginia out of a divided nation. We are divided again today. It will take all our better angels to heal us. We pledge to do our part in the halls of the West Virginia Capitol, and we call on all citizens to do their part. Check on your neighbors, help someone in need, engage with those who are different from you. That is how we will summon the strength needed to right this country again. By loving our neighbors throughout these majestic and grand hills of West Virginia.”
WV Democratic Party Chair Belinda Biafore and Vice-Chair Rod Snyder released the following statement:
“West Virginia Delegate Derrick Evans was among the violent mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. today to disrupt the certification of the presidential election. He must be held accountable for participating in an act of insurrection against the United States government and risking the lives of lawmakers and Capitol police. The West Virginia Democratic Party calls for his immediate resignation from the House of Delegates and that he be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”