W.Va. legislator resigns following charge for entering restricted area in Capitol riots
Republican West Virginia legislator Derrick Evans resigned from office Saturday after he was arrested and charged in relation to the Capitol riots that occurred Wednesday.
In a statement obtained by Metro News and addressed to West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R), Evans tendered his resignation.
The short message to the governor read, "I hereby resign as a member of the West Virginia House of Delegates, effective immediately."
Evans, who reportedly filmed himself inside the Capitol while the riots took place, was arrested and charged with two federal misdemeanors on Friday. The first charge was for entering restricted government buildings, and the second was for violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.
There was a federal court hearing Friday afternoon, and Evans was released on a personal recognizance bond, according to Metro News.
Evans, a newly elected lawmaker, submitted his resignation letter to the state's House of Delegates on Saturday after his Republican colleagues called on him to resign, according to the news outlet.
“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,” Evans said in a statement the West Virginia House of Delegates posted.
During his livestream inside the Capitol, Evans reportedly said, “We’re in! Keep it moving, baby” in a packed doorway around others of President Trump's supporters, according to The Associated Press.
However, following the surfacing of the footage, Evans and his lawyer both claimed the video shows him recording an event as a “journalist” and not being a part of “riotous” behavior, according to Metro News.
“Given the sheer size of the group walking in, Evans had no choice but to enter,” John Bryan, Evans’s attorney, wrote in a statement obtained by the West Virginia news outlet.
“Evans continued to film once inside. His footage showed 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 seen calmly walking around,” he added.
Rioters who stormed the Capitol building on Wednesday damaged the building and forced Congress to evacuate and halt the process of certifying the 2020 election results.
Following the events Wednesday, dozens of arrests related to the riots have been made, and the FBI continues to look for suspects who took part in the violence.