The Republican lawmaker who was arrested for storming the US Capitol has resigned from the West Virginia State Legislature. “I hereby resign as a member of the West Virginia House of Delegates, effective immediately,” Derrick Evans wrote in a one-sentence letter to West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice on Saturday.
Evans also released a statement saying, “I take full responsibility for my actions, and deeply regret any hurt, pain or embarrassment I may have caused my family, friends, constituents and fellow West Virginians. I hope this action I take today can remove any cloud of distraction from the state Legislature, so my colleagues can get to work in earnest building a brighter future for our state.” Evans also wrote that he hopes his resignation will help “begin the healing process” for the United States.
Evans, who served in the state legislature for just one month before his resignation, was part of the Trump-incited insurrectionist mob that broke into the US Capitol on Wednesday last week in an attempt to stop certification of Joe Biden’s presidential election victory. Evans livestreamed himself on Facebook while chanting Trump’s name and yelling, “We’re in! We’re in! Derrick Evans is in the Capitol!” In another video he posted earlier in the day, he said that “people who are tired of liberals running this country and stealing elections” should “get off the couch and show up today in force and send a message.” The Trump-incited mob violence led to the death of a US Capitol police officer.
Evans, 35, initially refused to resign and claimed that he was acting as a member of the media. His resignation came one day after he was arrested by the FBI and charged with entering a restricted building without lawful authority and “violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.”
“FIGHT FOR TRUMP, JANUARY 6. We’re Comin!”
The US government filed a complaint against Evans in US District Court for the District of Columbia. An affidavit by FBI Special Agent David DiMarco said that Evans traveled to Washington, DC, where he “knowingly and willfully joined and encouraged a crowd of individuals who forcibly entered the US Capitol and impeded, disrupted, and disturbed the orderly conduct of business by the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate.”
DiMarco’s affidavit said he identified Evans from his livestream video and compared the voice on that video with Evans’ voice from one of his campaign videos. “Evans identifies himself by first and last name during the recorded video capturing the offense,” DiMarco wrote, referring to the video Evans took of himself. DiMarco also described public posts on Evans’ Facebook page, calling them “potentially relevant to Evans’ motive and intent.”
“For instance, on December 28, 2020, Evans posted a meme, with a picture of President Donald J. Trump, and the text, ‘FIGHT FOR TRUMP, JANUARY 6. We’re Comin!'” DiMarco wrote. “Evans included the caption, ‘Anyone else going to DC on Jan 6th?'”
Two days later, Evans “posted another meme showing President Trump and the text, ‘TAKE AMERICA BACK. BE THERE. WILL BE WILD. DC, JANUARY 6, 2021,'” DiMarco wrote. More Evans posts leading up to the January 6 riot included text such as “A STORM IS COMING… AND THERE IS NOTHING THE LEFT CAN DO TO STOP IT!”
One day before the riot, “Evans posted a photo of Washington, DC, with the caption, ‘We have two charter buses leaving the local area in 3 hours. I can’t wait for tomorrow. #StopTheSteal,'” DiMarco wrote. Later that evening, Evans posted a photo of people inside one of the chartered buses. In the video Evans posted shortly before the mob entered the Capitol, he said, “They’re making an announcement right now saying if Pence betrays us you better get your mind right because we’re storming that building. I’m just the messenger, so don’t be hating on me. I’m just telling you what I’m hearing right now on the ground.”
Under US law, the charge of illegally entering a restricted building with the intent to disrupt government business can be punished by a fine and one year in prison, or up to 10 years in prison if the offender “uses or carries a deadly or dangerous weapon or firearm” when committing the offense. The FBI affidavit didn’t mention Evans carrying a weapon.