CHARLESTON, W. Va. — A Republican lawmaker from West Virginia, who had only served in the state legislature for one month, has now resigned from office after being arrested for participating in the storming of the U.S. Capitol building during the counting of Electoral College votes, filming and cheering. His attorney had originally said that he would not be resigning, arguing that the legislator thought police had allowed the East Side crowd inside and contended that no one asked the people to leave.
“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,” Derrick Evans, member of the House of Delegates, said in a statement on Saturday.
He submitted his resignation in a one sentence letter to Gov. Jim Justice, writing simply, “I hereby resign as a member of the West Virginia House of Delegates, effective immediately.”
“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 remarked in his statement. “And more importantly, I hope it helps to begin the healing process, so we can all move forward and come together as ‘One Nation, Under God.’”
The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and the Department of Justice (DoJ) likewise announced Evans’ arrest on Saturday, among others who were identified after their involvement.
“Evans, a recently elected member of the West Virginia House of Delegates, streamed live to his Facebook page a video of himself joining and encouraging a crowd unlawfully entering the U.S. Capitol,” the DoJ press release states. “In the video, Evans is allegedly seen crossing the threshold of the doorway into the U.S. Capitol and shouting, ‘We’re in; we’re in! Derrick Evans is in the Capitol!'”
An affidavit from the FBI, signed by Special Agent David DiMarco and Judge G. Michael Harvey, further outlines that as Evans — who noted that he had pepper spray in his eye and mouth — followed a crowd entering the building and began yelling, “Let’s go! Keep it moving, baby!”
However, he did shout, “No destruction of anything! No vandalizing property! No vandalizing!” Evans also fist bumped a police officer inside the Capitol and told him, “We still respect you, all right?”
The affidavit states that in another live video, Evans informed viewers while still outside, “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.”
The videos have since been deleted from Evans’ Facebook page, but some footage has been used in news reports elsewhere. See here, for example.
He has now been charged with one count of knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority and one count of disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.
18 U.S. Code § 1752 makes it a criminal offense if one “knowingly enters or remains in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority to do so; [or] knowingly, and with intent to impede or disrupt the orderly conduct of government business or official functions, engages in disorderly or disruptive conduct in, or within such proximity to, any restricted building or grounds when, or so that, such conduct, in fact, impedes or disrupts the orderly conduct of government business or official functions.”
Evans, who identifies as a Christian, had wanted to fight against abortion and transgender restroom use while in office. View an interview with him here. Some supporters have alleged that Evans was targeted for arrest as he was respectful during the revolt and simply moved with the crowd, filming and cheering for Trump.
His attorney also argued in a statement that Evans travels as an activist and an amateur journalist, filming historical events and protests. He said that Evans never engaged in violence, unlike those on the West side of the Capitol, and thought that the police were allowing the people inside since the door opened. He had no knowledge of the destruction on the other side of the building.
“From Mr. Evans point of view in the crowd, it appeared that the crowd was being allowed by law enforcement into the Capitol,” attorney John H. Bryan wrote. “He was not at the front of the group. Given the sheer size of the group walking in, Mr. Evans had no choice but to enter. ”
“Evans’ footage shows no riotous behavior taking place at that time. Protesters can be observed calmly walking around. Upon entering, Evans observed a police ofﬁcer to his right, who was calmly standing watch inside the doorway through which he entered. No members of the protest were assaulting or resisting the ofﬁcer in any way. Nor was the ofﬁcer asking the protestors to leave.”
Others who have been arrested and charged include Jacob Chansley, also known as Jake Angeli, of Arizona, who was most known for being the shirtless, face-painted man donned with horns and a bearskin headdress. He entered the Senate chambers after it emptied out and briefly stood at the dais, where he was photographed.
Chansley is known for his appearance at political rallies in Arizona and his support for President Trump. In one video posted online, he can be seen calling out, “Thank you, President Trump! Thank you, Q!”
The latter is believed to refer to the anonymous online poster known as Q, who birthed conspiracy theories that became known as QAnon, which, in part, claim that Trump is secretly fighting against a pedophile ring similar to “pizzagate” that includes Hollywood elites, Democrats and those in the “deep state.”
In an interview that same day in May, Chansley explained that he attends the rallies because “I think it’s important that the president of the United States knows that his people support him. … There’s good patriotic Americans that see everything that he’s going through and are willing to stand up and say, ‘Hey man, I see what you’re going through. I salute you. Thank you for doing your job.'”
Also arrested was Richard “Bigo” Barnett of Gravette, Arkansas, who was pictured sitting with his boot up on a desk in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office during the capitol uprising. According to reports and photographs, Barnett wrote, “We will not back down” in red on a folder on Pelosi’s desk and also took an envelope from her office, which he held up for a reporter for the New York Times once outside.
That’s Richard “Bigo” Barnett, 60, from Gravette, Ak., showing off the personalized envelope he took from Speaker Pelosi’s office. He insisted he didn’t steal it — “I left a quarter on her desk.” pic.twitter.com/aST7MCoRwP
— Matthew Rosenberg (@AllMattNYT) January 6, 2021
Barnett turned himself in to the Benton County Sheriff’s Office on Friday and has been charged with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority; violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds; and theft of public money, property or records.
He had been interviewed in November during a “Stop the Steal” rally in Bentonville, stating, “I ain’t going down easy.” View that video here.
Others who have been arrested include Adam Johnson of Florida, Nicholas Ochs of Hawaii, Larry Brock of Texas and Eric Munchel of Tennessee. View the press releases on them here, here and here. At least four dozen have been arrested, according to reports.
The FBI says that, so far, there has been “no indication” that Antifa (short for “anti-fascists”) was involved in the storming of the Capitol, as many alleged or suspected that they were disguised as Trump supporters.
Among others, former Pennsylvania House Rep. Rick Saccone was pictured outside at the protest, writing in an online post, “We are storming the Capitol. Our vanguard has broken through the barricades. We will save this nation. Are you with me?”
Daniel 2:21 teaches that God “changeth the times and the seasons: He removeth kings and setteth up kings.”
Isaiah 9:6 says of Jesus, “the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.”
Colossians 3:2 exhorts, “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the Earth.”