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The grandmother of a Republican state lawmaker from West Virginia appears to have suggested that his arrest for breaching the U.S. Capitol Building last week is President Donald Trump’s fault.
Del. Derrick Evans was arrested Friday and taken into custody on federal charges for illegal entry into the building during a riot on Wednesday that left five persons dead.
Evans, wearing a helmet, recorded himself as he joined others in breaching the Capitol, proclaiming at one point, “We’re in! Keep it moving, baby!” He posted the video to one of his social media pages, but later deleted it.
— Brad McElhinny (@BradMcElhinny) January 6, 2021
Once inside, Evans wanders around the Capitol Rotunda, yelling “no vandalizing” of historical paintings and other artifacts.
Evans, along with lawmakers from other states, traveled to Washington, D.C., to protest the electoral results for now-President-elect Joe Biden. It’s unclear whether any of them joined with Evans and the hundreds of other Trump supporters who stormed the Capitol Building.
Democratic Party leaders in Evans’ home state called on him to resign, adding that he should “be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.” CBS News reported that more than 10,000 people signed an online petition calling on him to be removed from office after being sworn in for his first term about a month ago.
West Virginia Speaker of the House of Delegates Roger Hanshaw said Wednesday following the breach that the young lawmaker will have to “answer to his constituents and colleagues regarding his involvement in what has occurred today.”
John H. Bryan, Evans’ attorney, said in a statement that his client would not be resigning from office and that he “committed no criminal act that day.”
“From Mr. Evans point of view in the crowd, it appeared that the crowd was being allowed by law enforcement into the Capitol. 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,” Bryan said in a statement.
“Evans continued to ﬁlm once inside. His footage shows 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 observed calmly walking around,” the statement continued.
“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,” Bryans added.
“Nor was the ofﬁcer asking the protestors to leave. Instead, the ofﬁcer gave Evans a “ﬁst-bump” which can be observed on the video footage. This is consistent with Evans obviously having a belief that the crowd was being allowed into this public area of the Capitol at that time. Again, he had no knowledge of what had already occurred on the other side of the Capitol grounds,” he said.
John Kruzel, who covers the Supreme Court and legal affairs for The Hill, tweeted out a quote from Evans’ grandmother, in which she praised her grandson while suggesting what he allegedly did was the fault of President Trump.
West Virginia Republican lawmaker Derrick Evans seen here being arrested on video via @WSAZChadHedrick. Woman claiming to be his grandmother has this to say:
"He's a fine man. And thank you, Mr. Trump, for invoking a riot at the White House."(sic)https://t.co/oUpsvxKY98
— John Kruzel (@johnkruzel) January 8, 2021
“He’s a fine man. And thank you, Mr. Trump, for invoking a riot at the White House,” (sic) she was quoted as saying.
Kruzel tweet-quoted WSAZ reporter Chad Hedrick of Charleston, W.V.-based NBC affiliate, but Hedrick’s tweet appears to have been deleted as of this writing.
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