Newly sworn-in West Virginia delegate Derrick Evans now faces federal charges after entering the U.S. Capitol with a crowd this week, federal law enforcement officials said during a call for the press today.
The initial announcement of the charges against Evans came halfway through a press briefing with Acting U.S. Attorney Michael Sherwin for the District of Columbia. Federal officials participating in the appeal appeared to have taken notice of the charges at the time and said more details would be released soon.
“I just learned that we now have a signed complaint as well against a delegate who sits in the West Virginia Legislature. He has been charged – and, I believe, according to the reports having recorded storming the Capitol – he is charged with entering a restricted area and entering the United States Capitol. This report is also released today. The name of this accused is Derrick Evans. Derrick Evans. “
A charge of entering restricted government buildings is a misdemeanor, punishable by fines and one year in prison. However, the penalty could increase considerably if “the offense results in significant bodily harm”.
The charge applies to buildings where any person protected by the secret service visits or to buildings with an event of national importance.
U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, DW.Va., who was among elected leaders rushed to safety on the U.S. Capitol this week, said earlier today that Evans would face the toughest charges possible.
“I guarantee you the FBI will do its job. I don’t know the person. It is a very, very bad judgment. Very bad judgment, ”Manchin said today on“ 580 Live ”on WCHS Radio.
Evans, a Wayne County Republican who was just sworn in in the West Virginia House of Delegates, claims he filmed the story and was swept away with the crowd. But his own video shows him shouting “Get moving! Get moving! ”Before walking through the door of the Capitol, as the security alarms sound.
The mob that stormed the Capitol disrupted the constitutional duty to count the electoral college’s votes and caused the evacuation of Representatives, Senators and Vice President Mike Pence. A woman was fatally shot while trying to enter the rooms, three others died from “medical emergencies” and 50 police officers were injured. Capitol Police announced that a policeman had died of his injuries during the riot.
The FBI’s Washington Field Office said Thursday it was seeking advice and digital media describing the riots and violence in and around the U.S. Capitol.
Jeffrey Rosen, the Acting United States Attorney General, released a statement saying that federal agents “will continue to methodically assess evidence, charge crimes and make arrests in the days and weeks ahead for s ‘ensure that those responsible are held to account under the law’.
US Attorney Mike Stuart of the Southern District of West Virginia also said officers were prepared to “uphold the rule of law.” “The right to peaceful assembly and demonstration is a fundamental right, but this right does not extend to violence in the name of any cause or purpose,” Stuart said Thursday.
Manchin, speaking on MetroNews’ “Talkline” Thursday, spoke generally about criminal penalties for people on the United States Capitol, but specifically mentioned Evans and said a 6-month sentence for trespassing would be a minimum sentence.
Manchin continued on the radio today to say that Evans had clearly crossed the line to interrupt a sacred duty of Congress.
“I just can’t believe that a person who was elected as a public servant, who takes the same oath of office that everyone takes to defend and protect the Constitution, would enter the Capitol, an insurgency, for to reverse a legal process we must do it to form our government and our democracy and to keep the Republic alive, ”Manchin said.
Evans, R-Wayne, live streamed and then deleted videos from inside the Capitol, but others took screenshots and videos of his original.
The video shows a crowd surging through a door of the Capitol, past security, as an alarm sounded repeatedly. As Evans walks into an area called the National Statuary Hall, he celebrates and declares his own name: “Here we are! Were in! Derrick Evans is on Capitol Hill! At another point, he turns the camera on on himself, wearing a motorcycle helmet.
In a Facebook post on his “Derrick Evans – The Activist” page, Evans said he was on a bus home to West Virginia after the event and said he acted as an “independent member. media to film the story ”.
“I want to assure all of you that I have not had any negative interactions with law enforcement and that I have not participated in any destruction that may have occurred,” he said.
In a statement released Thursday evening, an attorney for Evans made the same point.
Union attorney John H. Bryan’s three-page statement describes Evans as an activist and “reporter” who documents the day’s events while being swept up in the crowd.
“Considering the size of the incoming group, Evans had no choice but to enter,” Bryan wrote. “Evans continued filming once inside. His images showed members of the public were already inside the Capitol by the time he entered. Evans’ footage shows no rioting behavior at this time. Protesters can be seen walking around calmly. “
Evans is a new member of the board. He placed first in a two-member district in the last general election, with 8,227 votes.
Evans vowed to uphold the Constitution last month. All delegates take this oath: “I swear (or affirm) solemnly that I will uphold the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of West Virginia, and that I will faithfully serve as a Senator (or delegate) to the best of my ability.”
The Legislature is due to meet next Wednesday for a day-long session to select leaders and set the rules.
Now is the likely time for a motion to expel Evans from the House of Delegates.
Several of his fellow Republicans, including delegates Steve Westfall from Jackson County, Ben Queen from Harrison County and Joshua Higginbotham from Jackson County, have already said Evans should resign or be expelled.
The Speaker of the House, Roger Hanshaw, R-Clay, does not have the unilateral power to remove a delegate. Prior to today, Hanshaw said he was gathering more information about Evans’ actions in Washington, DC Hanshaw said he was appalled at what was happening there.
“He will have to answer to his constituents and colleagues for his involvement in what happened,” Hanshaw said earlier this week.
The new parliamentary minority leader, Doug Skaff, released a statement Thursday afternoon saying Evans should not be seated when the Legislature meets.
Skaff’s letter to Hanshaw cited Article 6 of the West Virginia Constitution, Section 24, which sets out the ability of the Legislature to make its own rules. This article gives chambers the flexibility to determine the qualifications of members, without further defining this.
Skaff also cited the oath that delegates took to uphold the US Constitution. He said Evans had failed before.
“His actions unequivocally disqualify him from holding public office in this state,” Skaff wrote, “and render him ineligible to sit as a member of the West Virginia House of Delegates.