CHARLESTON, W.V. (LOOTPRESS) – John H. Bryan, an attorney representing West Virginia Delegate Derrick Evans, R-Wayne, has released a statement saying that Evans will not be resigning his position.
State lawmakers have called for the delegate’s removal following a video showing him entering the U.S. Capitol among a group of protesters on Wednesday, Jan. 6.
Bryan begins his statement by saying that Evans, as both a duly elected member of the West Virginia House of Delegates and an independent activist and journalist, “has long exercised his constitutional right to engage in peaceful protest, activism and amateur journalism.”
“Mr. Evans did nothing wrong on January 6, 2021. He was exercising his First Amendment rights to peacefully protest and ﬁlm a historic and dynamic event,” Bryan wrote, adding that Evans did not engage in any violence, rioting, destruction of property, or any illegal behavior.
The civil rights attorney also mentioned that Evans did not organize or lead any group to the event and did not travel to Washington D.C. as part of any organization. According to Bryan, Evans personally purchased a charter bus ticket to travel to the protest.
The attorney mentioned Evans’ social media page, which is dedicated to his activities related to political activism and amateur journalism and used these social media pages as further proof that Evans did not engage or organize any group of protestors on Wednesday.
The statement reads that Evans, who did not conceal his identity during the protests, can be seen interviewing attendees. These attendees were strangers to Evans, who documented the event using his smartphone camera and by livestreaming on social media.
Bryan also stated that Evans was documenting people on the East side of the U.S. Capitol- the rear side of the building and not on the West side of the Capitol, which had been the subject of the day’s media footage and public commentary.
“Mr. Evans absolutely was not part of the main body of protestors who were on the West side of the U.S. Capitol, or elsewhere. He had no knowledge at the time of what was happening on the other side of the complex, nor inside the Capitol after the other group forcibly entered…The footage ﬁlmed by Evans, which has been the subject of nationwide media reports condemning him, show that Evans was located inside a crowd of protestors standing before the East side entrance to the Capitol. At that time, there had already been numerous – perhaps hundreds of – protestors inside the Capitol. They had already entered from doors on both the East side, as well as the West side, and possibly other entrances.”
Bryan continues, saying that, from where Evans entered the Capitol, the doors were already open- “either by Capitol Police, or by other protestors who were already inside.”
At this point, Bryan says the large group surged into the building, leaving Evans with no choice but to enter.
“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.”
Bryan says his client’s footage shows no rioting among the group he was with inside the Capitol.
“Protestors 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. Instead, the ofﬁcer gave Evans a “ﬁst-bump” which can be observed on the video footage.”
Bryan stated again that Evans had no knowledge of what was taking place on the west side of the building and that he was in a part of the Capitol that is generally open to the public year-round and was only closed at the time due to the pandemic.
At his time, Evans was unaware that a woman had been shot inside the Capitol.
“Derrick Evans takes his responsibility and oath as the duly elected voice of the people of West Virginia House District 19 extremely seriously. His constituents knew that they were electing an activist to the ofﬁce. He was acting in good faith to this regard at all times. Just as the courts don’t judge police ofﬁcers with 20/20 hindsight for the split-second judgments they’re often forced to make, Derrick Evans should not be condemned as a member of the group of violent and destructive protestors elsewhere at the Capitol that day.”
Bryan concluded the statement, stating that Evans will not be resigning his public office as he committed no criminal act on Wednesday and only exercised his constitutionally protected rights to engage in peaceful protest.