Derrick Evans
Member of the West Virginia House of Delegates
from the 19th district
In office
December 1, 2020 – January 9, 2021
Preceded byRobert Thompson
Kenneth Hicks
Succeeded byJoshua Booth
Personal details
Born (1985-04-02) April 2, 1985 (age 36)
Prichard, West Virginia, U.S.
Political partyRepublican (2016–present)
Other political
affiliations
Democratic (before 2016)
Libertarian (2016)
Children3
EducationMarshall University
West Liberty University (BA)

Derrick Evans (born April 2, 1985[1]) is an American politician, educator, and football coach. He served as a member of the West Virginia House of Delegates for the 19th district from December 1, 2020, to January 9, 2021. He had previously run for the same seat in 2016, placing sixth out of seven in the Democratic primary, and ran in the general election as a Libertarian and lost. In 2020, he was elected as a Republican to represent the two-member House District 19, alongside Democratic candidate Ric Griffith.

Evans participated in the 2021 United States Capitol attack, an action for which he was criminally charged. He was arrested on January 8, 2021 and resigned from the House of Delegates the next day. On March 21, 2022, he pled guilty to a felony charge of civil disorder.

Early life and education

Evans is a native of Prichard, West Virginia. After attending Marshall University for one year, he earned a bachelor's degree from West Liberty University.[2]

Career

Early career

Evans worked as a high school teacher and football coach in Wayne County, coaching football at Tolsia High School from 2013 to 2017.[3] In January 2017, he was hired to be an assistant quarterback coach for the Virginia Tech Hokies football team.[4]

Anti-abortion activities

Before pursuing elected office, Evans was known as a confrontational local anti-abortion protester who, over the course of 2018 and 2019, harassed patients, staff, and volunteer escorts at the only clinic in West Virginia that performed abortions.[5] Evans would livestream himself confronting people outside the clinic to tens of thousands of viewers.[5] In addition to shouting abuse, Evans would livestream himself repeating clinic workers' names over and over and screaming their personal details.[5] His activities prompted the clinic to put up a 10-foot high fence and alert police.[5] Evans' harassment led a woman to file for and receive a restraining order over "alleged stalking and repeated threats of bodily injury"; Evans subsequently violated the order.[6]

Evans also frequently appeared at the West Virginia State Capitol, where he took photographs and videos of state legislators. Democratic State Delegate Danielle Walker said that Evans referred to her as "satanic" and equated her support for LGBTQ rights to defending pedophilia.[5]

Politics

Evans represented the 19th district from his hometown of Prichard, West Virginia.[2] He assumed office on December 1, 2020.

Evans was embroiled in controversy during his campaign stemming from his membership in a Facebook group chat in which homophobic and Islamophobic language was used. Fellow Delegate John Mandt, an alleged participant in the group chat, claimed that the messages attributed to him were fabricated but nonetheless announced his resignation. Evans not only confirmed his own participation in the group chat, but said that he stood by his comments calling Nihad Awad a "terrorist."[7]

Participation in the 2021 Capitol attack

Evans participated in the storming of the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021. Social media posts by Evans depict him traveling to Washington, D.C., with a busload of fellow Donald Trump supporters, none of whom were wearing face masks during the COVID-19 pandemic.[8]

Evans had been telling his 30,000 Facebook followers to "Fight For Trump" in D.C. and at the rally posted a video in which he said, "If Pence betrays us you better get your mind right because we're storming that building," laughingly adding "I'm just the messenger, so don't be hating on me."[9][10][11][12] Associated Press notes that in a video of Evans as he was attempting to breach the Capitol, he also could be heard chanting Trump's name repeatedly.[8] Evans subsequently denied involvement in any destruction of property that took place during the riot, claiming that he was "simply there as an independent member of the media to film history."[13]

Evans crossed the downed fence and entered the Capitol building filming himself inside shouting "We're in, we're in. Derrick Evans is in the Capitol!" Telling the crowd, "We're in! Keep it moving, baby!" And later "Our house!" Inside the Capitol halls he said, "I don't know where we're going. I'm following the crowd."[14][11]

His actions were condemned by West Virginia's state House Speaker Roger Hanshaw, state House Minority Leader Doug Skaff, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, and Governor Jim Justice.[11][13]

Two days later, Evans was arrested[15] and charged with one count of "knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority" and one count of "violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol Grounds."[16][17][18] Evans resigned on January 10, 2021, apologizing and saying, "I take full responsibility for my actions."[19][20][21] He pleaded not guilty to four misdemeanor charges in May 2021.[22] In July 2021, a grand jury returned a five-count indictment against Evans, including the four previously charged misdemeanors and a new felony charge, obstructing an official proceeding and aiding or abetting.[22] Negotiation of a possible plea agreement was ongoing in August 2021.[23] On February 3, 2022, the day before Evans was supposed to appear in court for a hearing, Evans struck a plea agreement and lawyers asked the court for a hearing later in the month without releasing the terms of the plea agreement.[24][25]

On March 18, 2022, Evans pleaded guilty to a felony charge of civil disorder stemming from the Capitol riot.[26]

Personal life

Evans and his wife Melissa have three children and live in Wayne County, West Virginia.[2]

References

  1. ^ "US District court for the District of Columbia federal complaint". The Herald-Dispatch. January 8, 2021. Archived from the original on January 8, 2021. Retrieved January 9, 2021.
  2. ^ a b c "W.Va. House 19 candidate: Derrick Evans (R)". The Herald-Dispatch. October 2, 2020. Archived from the original on January 7, 2021. Retrieved January 7, 2021.
  3. ^ Pierson, Lacie. "Calls for ouster of Wayne delegate who stormed US Capitol grow". Charleston Gazette-Mail. Archived from the original on January 8, 2021. Retrieved January 9, 2021.
  4. ^ "Hokies hire new Offensive Assistant Coach – Derrick Evans". The Key Play. January 29, 2017. Archived from the original on October 6, 2017. Retrieved January 9, 2021.
  5. ^ a b c d e Schmidt, Samantha; Kitchener, Caroline (January 16, 2021). "Before he stormed the Capitol, ex-W.Va. lawmaker harassed women at an abortion clinic". The Washington Post.
  6. ^ Carballo, Rebecca (June 4, 2019). "Document: Anti-abortion protester violates restraining order from Charleston clinic worker". Charleston Gazette-Mail. Archived from the original on January 9, 2021. Retrieved January 7, 2021.
  7. ^ Stuck, Taylor; Pierson, Lacie (October 3, 2020). "Mandt resigns, says homophobic social media messages were fabricated". Charleston Gazette-Mail. Archived from the original on November 1, 2020. Retrieved January 7, 2021.
  8. ^ a b Dil, Cuneyt (January 7, 2021). "West Virginia delegate records himself storming U.S. Capitol". AP News. Associated Press. Archived from the original on January 7, 2021. Retrieved January 7, 2021.
  9. ^ "West Virginia lawmaker among rioters in Capitol". Politico. Associated Press. January 6, 2021. Archived from the original on January 7, 2021. Retrieved January 7, 2021.
  10. ^ Robertson, Campbell (January 6, 2021). "West Virginia Lawmaker Among Those Who Stormed U.S. Capitol". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on January 7, 2021. Retrieved January 7, 2021.
  11. ^ a b c McElhinny, Brad (January 6, 2021). "W.Va. delegate, just sworn in, was among the mob storming U.S. Capitol". West Virginia MetroNews. Archived from the original on January 7, 2021. Retrieved January 7, 2021.
  12. ^ Dil, Cuneyt (January 8, 2021). "Several state lawmakers joined, observed US Capitol turmoil". KJZZ-TV. Associated Press.
  13. ^ a b Stowers, Shannon; Urbanski, Rachel (January 6, 2021). "W.Va. delegate issues statement after protest videos; state leaders react". WCHS-TV. Archived from the original on January 7, 2021. Retrieved January 7, 2021.
  14. ^ Kim, Soo (January 8, 2021). "Every Republican State Legislator Spotted At Rally Before Capitol Riot". Newsweek.
  15. ^ Brodkin, Jon (January 8, 2021). "FBI arrests Republican lawmaker who stormed Capitol with pro-Trump mob". Ars Technica. Archived from the original on January 8, 2021. Retrieved January 8, 2021.
  16. ^ "Three Men Charged in Connection with Events at U.S. Capitol" (Press release). United States Department of Justice, U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia. January 9, 2021.
  17. ^ McElhinny, Brad (January 8, 2021). "New W.Va. delegate who yelled 'We're in! We're in! Derrick Evans is in the Capitol!' now faces a federal charge reflecting that". West Virginia MetroNews. Archived from the original on January 8, 2021. Retrieved January 8, 2021.
  18. ^ Mangan, Dan (January 8, 2021). "West Virginia state representative Derrick Evans charged with illegally entering U.S. Capitol during riot". CNBC. Archived from the original on January 8, 2021. Retrieved January 8, 2021.
  19. ^ McElhinny, Brad (January 9, 2021). "Derrick Evans resigns W.Va. House after entering U.S. Capitol with mob". West Virginia MetroNews. Archived from the original on January 9, 2021. Retrieved January 9, 2021.
  20. ^ "West Virginia lawmaker Derrick Evans charged with entering Capitol in riot resigns". Fox News. Associated Press. January 10, 2011.
  21. ^ Astor, Maggie (January 9, 2021). "Derrick Evans, a West Virginia legislator who stormed the Capitol, has resigned". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on January 9, 2021. Retrieved January 9, 2021.
  22. ^ a b "Ex-state lawmaker in Capitol amid riot adds felony charge". Associated Press. July 4, 2021. Retrieved July 5, 2021.
  23. ^ McElhinny, Brad (August 9, 2021). "Plea talks are 'productive' for Derrick Evans in Jan. 6 case as lawyers ask for more time". West Virginia MetroNews. Retrieved August 21, 2021.
  24. ^ "Ex-West Virginia legislator who stormed Capitol strikes plea deal". NBC News. Retrieved February 4, 2022.
  25. ^ "Consent Motion to Continue and Exclude Time Under the Speedy Trial Act" (PDF). courtlistener.com. Retrieved February 4, 2022.
  26. ^ Hessler, Courtney (March 18, 2022). "Ex-W.Va. delegate admits role in Capitol riot". The Herald-Dispatch. Archived from the original on March 21, 2022. Retrieved March 21, 2022.