Del. Derrick Evans Charged With Entering A Restricted Area In Storming Of U.S. Capitol
Updated: Friday, Jan. 8, 2021 at 5:40 p.m.
Derrick Evans, a newly elected member of the West Virginia House of Delegates, has been charged with entering a restricted area and disorderly conduct for his role Wednesday in the storming of the U.S. Capitol.
Federal officials involved in the case say they were able to identify Evans, a Republican from Wayne County, through video he streamed of Wednesday’s events that was posted on social media before later being deleted.
Evans was one of hundreds of pro-Trump extremists who stormed the U.S. Capitol and disrupted the Congressional certification of state election results that solidified Democrat Joe Biden as winner of the 2020 presidential election.
Charging documents associated with the case against Evans were released Friday afternoon.
The documents list two charges: “Knowingly Entering or Remaining in any Restricted Building or Grounds Without Lawful Authority” and “Violent Entry and Disorderly Conduct on Capitol Grounds.”
The complaint alleges that "Evans traveled to Washington, D.C., and knowingly and willfully joined and encouraged a crowd of individuals who forcibly entered the U.S. Capitol and impeded, disrupted and disturbed the orderly conduct of business by the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate."
The complaint also notes that Evans was identified through video he live streamed on his Facebook page, as well as his voice in the video, which federal officials compared to a campaign video that Evans had earlier posted to the same page.
“We’re in! We’re in! Derrick Evans is in the Capitol!” he can be heard as saying at one point on the video.
The Facebook page where Evans live-streamed his role in the insurrection has since been deleted.
WSAZ-TV reported Friday afternoon that Evans had been taken into custody.
John Bryan, an attorney representing Evans, released a statement Thursday arguing his client did nothing illegal and was at the Capitol as an independent member of the media to film history.
“Given the sheer size of the group walking in, Evans had no choice but to enter,” Bryan wrote in the statement. “Evans continued to film once inside. His footage showed that members of the public were already inside the Capitol by the time he entered. Evans’ footage shows no riotous behavior taking place at that time. Protesters can be seen calmly walking around.”
Contacted by West Virginia Public Broadcasting Friday afternoon, soon after the charges against Evans were announced, Bryan said he had not seen a copy of the complaint.
State lawmakers of both political parties have called for Evans’ resignation or his expulsion from his seat in the House of Delegates.
Del. Doug Skaff, D-Kanawha, noted in a letter to House Speaker Roger Hanshaw, R-Clay, that members of the House must swear an oath to uphold the constitutions of the United States and West Virginia.
“His actions unequivocally disqualify him from holding public office in this state and make him ineligible to be seated as a member of the West Virginia House of Delegates,” Skaff wrote.
A spokesperson for Hanshaw noted that a provision in the West Virginia Constitution allows for the punishment of a member — including expulsion — but would require a vote from the full House.
However, Evans’ attorney said the as-of-yet-seated lawmaker will not resign from his office.
The West Virginia Legislature is set to convene for an organizational session on Wednesday, Jan. 13, which is the earliest any potential action against Evans might take place.