According to state media in Belarus, a man who allegedly assaulted police officers in the U.S. Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021, was granted political asylum there.
In December 2021, Evan Neumann, 49, a resident of Mill Valley in Marin County, was charged with 14 counts, including assaulting police officers and entering a restricted building with a weapon.
Then, according to the FBI, he was already in Belarus, a former Soviet republic that currently serves as a staging area for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
According to LAtimes, Neumann didn’t respond to a request for comment when reached.
In response to a call from a phone number linked to Neumann’s brother and identifying himself with the same first name as Neumann’s brother, the man hung up when a reporter identified themselves as an employee of the Los Angeles Times.
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Neumann reportedly flew to Washington, D.C., on Jan. 5, 2021.
He was photographed wearing a red MAGA hat and a scarf commemorating the Ukrainian Orange Revolution of 2005 outside the Capitol on Jan. 6.
Neumann, who has spent time overseas, reportedly supported the pro-democracy Orange Revolution, according to the government.
According to the government, Neumann stood just behind a barricade meant to keep rioters out of the Capitol, telling officers to “kneel to Antifa because they’re little bitches,” and telling one officer that they will be overrun by the crowd and warning: “I’m willing to die. Are you?”
At around 2 p.m., Neumann reportedly used the barricade as a battering ram to rush toward the officers. In the hours that followed, Neumann refused to leave the restricted area on the Capitol steps and called the officers “motherf–” and “f-ing murderers,” according to prosecutors.
During the days following the riots, an anonymous tipster claiming to be a family friend gave federal authorities Neumann’s home address.
Following that, officials compared their footage with an interview Neumann gave to a local television station after the wildfire.
Santa Rosa police arrested Neumann and his brother in 2017 for allegedly crossing a barricade to visit Neumann’s mother’s destroyed home in Fountaingrove, near where the Tubbs fire occurred.
FBI agents spied on Neumann’s Mill Valley house on Feb. 16, 2021, and then followed him to the airport’s international terminal, where they interviewed him.
In the interview on Jan. 7, he confirmed that he had flown to Washington on Jan. 5 and returned on Jan. 7, but refused to specify whether he had encountered law enforcement or entered any federal buildings. Afterward, Neumann was allowed to leave the country.
The Santa Rosa Press Democrat report he first flew to Italy before going to Ukraine.
According to Belarusian state media interviews, Neumann began to fear he was being watched, and that he could be extradited as a result of the close relationship between the U.S. and Ukraine.
Because of this, he crossed the border, he encountered snakes and wild boars, the author said in an interview broadcast on Belarusian state television.
Neumann described officers hitting him with pepper spray on Jan. 6 and said “very strange things happened” at the Capitol in his interview, which showed Neumann walking in a town square with his interviewer at one point and sitting in an office next to a potted plant at other times. Furthermore, he claimed that someone inside the building opened the building’s doors and that the rioters were “invited to come in.”
Before then, Neumann had sold his two-bedroom house in Mill Valley for $1.3 million in spring 2021, and the sale was closed in 2 1/2 weeks, according to an interview with the buyer provided to ABC7.
“We did some Googling,” said Jason Dubaniewicz in the interview when he learned the seller was located in Ukraine.
“We found an eclectic person.”