By John Clise
Recently elected West Virginia Delegate Derrick Evans (R-Wayne) has been charged federally for his participation in recent riots in Washington, D.C., according to federal law enforcement officials during a press call today.
Evans can be seen in a video he took and subsequently deleted entering the U.S. Capitol with a mob of rioters.
The charges were announced during a press briefing with acting U.S. Attorney Michael Sherwin for the District of Columbia. More information is expected to be released as it becomes available later this afternoon.
“I just received word that we have now a signed complaint also against a Delegate who serves in the West Virginia Legislature. He has been charged — and, I think, according to reports had recorded himself storming the Capitol — he is charged with entering restricted area and entering the United States Capitol. That report is also being released today as well. That defendant’s name is Derrick Evans. Derrick Evans.”
Currently, Evans is facing a charge of entering a restricted area. The misdemeanor charge is punishable by fines and up to one year in prison.
The charge applies to buildings where anyone protected by the Secret Service is visiting or buildings with an event of national significance. Those charges could be upgraded as his case develops.
Evans has said he was their as am independent journalist to record the day’s activities as a historical event, though he appears to have no prior experience as an independent journalist.
He can be heard on the since deleted video yelling “Trump, Trump, wooooo.” Also, “we’re going in” and “We’re in, we’re in. Keep it moving baby.”
“The violence at the United States Capitol was reprehensible. It adds nothing of value to important public discourse. While peaceful protests are protected by our nation’s constitution, violence is not. I support the right to peacefully assemble. I also was sworn to uphold the rule of law. Those who violated the law in the nation’s capital today should and will face the justice system,” said Bill Powell, U.S. Attorney, Northern District of West Virginia said in comments released Wednesday.
“The Rule of Law is paramount to the maintenance of freedom. The right to peaceful assembly and demonstration is a fundamental right, but that right does not extend to committing violence in the name of any cause or purpose. The violence at the Nation’s Capitol Building was reprehensible and counter to every value we share as Americans. My team is working with our counterparts in law enforcement and, as the facts dictate, are prepared to enforce the Rule of Law and the laws of these United States. I fully support and endorse the statement of Acting United States Attorney General Rosen regarding yesterday’s intolerable events. I want to commend the brave men and women of law enforcement for their selfless service yesterday and always. These men and women are incredible public servants in defense of our citizens, our communities and the Rule of Law.” Mike Stewart, U.S. Attorney, Southern District of West Virginia said in comments released Thursday.
Evans has been facing extreme pressure to resign after his actions, but those tensions will likely increase after being charged federally.
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.”
The illegal entry by Trump supporters lead to 52 arrests though Evans was not detained at the time. It also lead to the recovery of several firearms and explosive devices. Five individuals have lost their lives as a result of the riot.
This is apart of 55 other cases that the US Attorney’s office are perusing and one of the 15 federal charges announced today.