On Friday, Derrick Evans, a newly elected member of the West Virginia House of Delegates, was taken into custody by the FBI.
Evans was arrested just two days after he uploaded a video to his Facebook page that showed him and several others breaching the Capitol building in Washington D.C.
The video received instant backlash and Evans took down the post. However, many Facebook users, including former congressional candidate Paula Swearengin had already downloaded the video and shared it on their social media accounts.
Soon calls for his resignation began, but Evans refused to step down calling himself a “patriot.” Evans has a long history of harassing women and despite multiple restraining orders connected to his harassment of employees and clients outside of women’s clinic in Charleston, West Virginia his campaign for the House Delegates was supported by the president of the West Virginia State Troopers Association.
Evans was found guilty by a Kanawha County magistrate in late 2019 to have engaged in “stalking” and made “repeated threats of bodily injury” to a woman who worked at the Women’s Health Center in Charleston, W.Va. It is the state’s only facility to offer abortion services.
Evans violated the restraining order just nine days after it was issued leading to the restraining to be extended until December 31, 2020. Evans gained notoriety in 2019 and 2020 by posting videos to his Facebook page showing him harassing women at the clinic and in some instances divulging their personal information. His Facebook page was deactivated on Friday.
The things that Evans shouted at the women entering the clinic were so graphic in nature they were not suitable for publication.
In one video, Evans had uploaded he is seen approaching a woman outside the clinic. He puts the camera in her face and says during the Livestream “You don’t have to cover your face,” he taunted. “Everybody’s already — 50,000 people are already seen what you look like. It’s no big deal.” Slowly backing up from her Evans then states that he knows she’s “already had two abortions.”
Jamie Miller was one of the women who volunteered at the clinic that Evans singled out. Miller states that Evans would mention things about her personal life as he harassed her outside the clinic.
“He would say things about, you know, how’s your daughter doing today, Jamie? How’s your son?” Evans also brought visibly armed protesters to the clinic. Miller says that Evans “tormented her for six months.”
“It was just extremely, extremely scary, because, you know, you’re trying to walk a patient from their car to the clinic, which is probably, I don’t know, I’m gonna say 12 feet?” Miller said at the time.
“It’s not a very big distance. But yet, you’re having to do this in front of men who are staring you down with giant weapons on their side. It’s probably the most scared I’ve ever been.” Evans had posted several videos that included Miller on his Facebook page, which he used to attack her and divulge personal information on the social media outlet.
Miller filed for a restraining order and it was granted by a local magistrate. Evans was ordered to stay away from Miller and the clinic, but just nine days after the restraining order was issued, he broke it
When police arrived at the clinic Evans lied to them about the content of the restraining order. “Mr. Evans’ refusal to acknowledge the requirements of the Court’s Final Personal Safety Order is disturbing because it demonstrates a contempt for the law,” Sean Cook, Miller’s attorney told local media at the time.
Soon after, Evans’s video of the D.C. riots went viral on Facebook, House Minority leader Doug Skaff Jr sent a letter to Speaker Roger Hanshaw in which he urged actions be taken against Evans.
In his letter, Skaff wrote on behalf of the House of Delegates Minority Caucus to “respectfully request Delegate Evans be disqualified from serving as a member of the House of Delegates.”
Skaff later stated that every member of the Democratic caucus had expressed that they no longer feel safe with Evans in the chamber.
The letter dated January 6 states that Delegate-elect Evans committed several illegal acts. Skaff says Evans’ actions “disqualify him from holding public office in this state and make him ineligible to be seated as a member of the West Virginia House of Delegates.” Reportedly House Speaker Roger Hanshaw is conducting an investigation into Evans’ actions.
Nearly 70,000 people have signed a petition calling for Evans’ removal from the House. Evans was arrested at his home on Friday by the FBI.
He faces two federal misdemeanors. He has been charged with entering a restricted public building and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds. Evans was arrested at his home in Prichard and he was taken to the federal courthouse in Huntington for a hearing.
The federal affidavit shares details of Evans’ actions. It describes how Evans posted a live video at the moment he and the crowd entered the Capitol. It also adds that Evans can be heard chanting “Move! Move! Move!” to the people in front of him.
West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice has called for Evans’ resignation. While Evans was being taken into custody his grandmother asked a reporter videotaping the arrest to leave. She called her grandson “a good man” and then thanked Donald Trump for throwing a “riot at the Capitol.”
UPDATE: Derrick Evans resigned his house seat on Saturday.
“I hereby resign as a member of the House of Delegates, effective immediately,” Evans said in a letter addressed to Gov. Jim Justice and the House.
The letter added ‘
“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. 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.’”