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Santa Rosa native who fled US following participation in Capitol riots granted asylum in Belarus

Evan Neumann, a former Santa Rosa resident wanted by the FBI for allegedly assaulting police during the U.S. Capitol riots on Jan. 6, 2021, has been granted asylum in Belarus.

A statement tweeted out by the BelTA news agency announced that Neumann, who fled the United States in February 2021, had received refugee status in Belarus on March 22. He was handed the official document in the Department of Citizenship and Migration of the Internal Affairs Directorate of the Brest Regional Executive Committee.

“I feel safe in Belarus,” BelTA quoted him as saying, according to the Daily Beast. “It’s calm, I like it in this country. Today I am experiencing mixed feelings. I’m glad that Belarus has taken care of me. I’m upset that I wound up in this situation, that in my native country there were such problems.”

Neumann fled the United States in February 2021. He was indicted in December on 14 counts, including charges of assaulting law enforcement and other crimes.

Approximately 140 police officers were assaulted at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, as supporters of then-President Donald Trump attempted to disrupt the certification of the November 2020 election he lost.

The 16-page criminal complaint and arrest warrant filed in March 2021 describes a man later identified as Evan Neumann appearing at the Capitol in a red “Make America Great Again” hat, and having a gas mask in his possession.

Police body-cam footage shows Neumann telling one officer that the officer is “defending the people who are gonna kill your f------ children, they are gonna rape them, they are gonna imprison them.”

Neumann refused orders to move away from barricade, saying “you can’t tell me what to do, you piece of s---.” He states that the officers “kneel to Antifa because they’re little bitches,” before threatening one by telling him he will be “overrun” by the crowd.

At approximately 1:57 p.m., according to the complaint, Neumann grabbed a metal barricade and shoved it into a line of officers.

“After striking officers with the barricade and also with his fist,” said the complaint, “Neumann, now joined by others, broke down the barricades. He then used the barricade as a battering ram, rushing toward the officers.”

Neumann left the United States on Feb. 16, 2021, flying to Italy, then making his way to western Ukraine, where he rented an apartment for several months.

Fearing extradition, he then trekked on foot through forests and swampland, braving quicksand, vipers and wild boars, he later recounted to Belarusian state television, in a segment titled “Goodbye, America.”

He then crossed into Belarus, a former Soviet republic that is now a Russian client state ruled by Alexander Lukashenko, often described as Europe’s last dictator. Russia has used Belarus as a staging ground in its current war against Ukraine.

“Lukashenko’s regime,” said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in the early days of the war, “is complicit in this vicious attack against Ukraine.”

Evan Neumann could not be reached for comment. His mother, Debbie Neumann, did not respond to an email inquiring about him.

Evan Neumann is the son of the late Claus Neumann, a renowned hotelier who ran the Los Robles Lodge on Cleveland Avenue and the Hotel La Rose in Railroad Square.

Evan Neumann, who described himself as “a volatile teen” in a 2020 interview, is a talented designer whose creations include internally lit handbags, robotic avalanche control devices and “chemical self-assembling space stations,” he shared in the interview with Design-legends.com.

From 1996 to 2000, Neumann was general manager of Santa Rosa’s Hotel La Rose, then owned by his parents. He also created a software system that helped hotels more efficiently handle their reservations data. That company, AMANSI, was purchased in 2004 by InnPoints Worldwide.

John Burton, who worked for Claus Neumann for nearly three decades in various roles at the now-closed Los Robles Lodge, described Evan last December as “extremely intelligent,” before adding that he “always walked to a different drummer.”

“But I do wish he would come home, accept responsibility for his actions, take his punishment and use the rest of his life in a productive fashion.”

You can reach Staff Writer Austin Murphy at 707-521-5214 or austin.murphy@pressdemocrat.com or on Twitter @ausmurph88.

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