GOP West Virginia legislator who, after detention, live-streamed himself storming the Capitol resigns
A newly elected West Virginia Republican representative resigned Saturday after he was arrested in the U.S. for trespassing. Capitol in a crowd of Trump backers trying to avert the win of President-elect Joe Biden.
The riot on Facebook Live on Wednesday was chronicled by Derrick Evans, 35, recording the moment the crowd cracked open the doors of the Capitol and crossed the threshold.
We're inside! We're inside! "In a video he later deleted, he screamed. "There's Derrick Evans in the Capitol! ”
For crimes linked to the break-in, Evans was among hundreds arrested. On Friday, according to the Department of Justice, he was charged with two federal misdemeanors, illegally accessing restricted grounds and aggressive entry and disorderly conduct, and taken into custody.
Some individuals tracked by online sleuths and law enforcement to the violent attack have faced consequences, including being publicly identified, fired and detained. Evans is also one of the mob's highest-profile personalities to be named and resigned.
With a one-sentence resignation letter to Gov. Jim Justice, Evans finished his brief term with a (R). Last month, he was sworn in to the House of Delegates.
The term "VACANT" appeared shortly after news of his departure in place of his name and headshot on the House roster.
"After resigning, in a statement shared with local news outlets, Evans expressed hope for "healing" and unity as "One Country, Under God," but he did not admit wrongdoing. Evans and his attorney did not respond to a request for comment immediately.
"According to news reports, he said in the statement, "I take full responsibility for my actions, and sincerely regret any harm, pain or embarrassment I may have caused my family, friends, constituents and fellow West Virginians. "I hope that today's action can remove any cloud of distraction from the state legislature, so that my colleagues can work seriously to build a brighter future for our state."
In his videos released Wednesday, Evans urged others to break into the Capitol, according to his arrest warrant, shouting, 'There we go! Get the door open! "and "Move! Move! Move! Move! Move! Move! ”
In another video, Evans said, according to the arrest report, "They're making an announcement right now saying if Pence betrays us, you'd better get your mind right because we're storming the building." And then he chuckled and said, "I'm only a messenger, so don't hate me." I am just asking you what I'm hearing on the ground right now.
As the crowd stormed into the Capitol to interrupt the count of the electoral college vote, which he was presiding over, Vice President Pence was hurried away by federal agents.
According to federal authorities, before he arrived in D.C., Evans posted memes on Facebook urging others to engage in the Jan. 6 incident.
A photo of President Trump was titled "FIGHT FOR TRUMP JANUARY 6 We're Comin '" in a meme posted by Evans on Dec. 28.
"According to the FBI, he wrote on Jan. 5, "Two bus loads of Patriots from WV, KY, and Ohio are loaded up and headed to DC. #StopTheSteal.
John H. Bryan, an attorney for Evans, denied that his client was doing anything illegal, saying that Evans was an inexperienced journalist and not an organizer.
"The progress of the protest, which streamed to his activism page containing his real name, was consistently documented by Mr. Evans," Bryan said in a statement Thursday. "He made no effort in any way to conceal his identity."
Later, Evans deleted his videos and his Facebook profile went missing.
In three days, a petition for his removal from office gained more than 66,000 signatures.
Roger Hanshaw, Speaker of the West Virginia House, expressed support for his fellow Republican's resignation, saying he was "deeply troubled" by the brutality of the party that stormed the Capitol by force.
"Delegate Evans said he accepted responsibility for his actions in announcing his resignation and apologized to those he's hurt," Hanshaw said in a statement. "I think that's a good first step for all of us to take right now in this time of overheated, hyperbolic political rage."