Ryan Kelley, a Republican candidate for the governor of Michigan, was arrested at his home Thursday morning on misdemeanor charges in the January 6th riot. Kelley was reportedly led away from his Allendale house in handcuffs in front of his family. Kelly is one of five candidates for governor in the Michigan Republican primary.
The arrest comes the same day the partisan Jan. 6, 2021 House committee holds its first prime-time hearing regarding its “investigation” into the Capitol riot, and the morning after Joe Biden vowed to throw his political opponents in jail during an appearance on the Jimmy Kimmel Show.
Prosecutors charged Kelley, 40, with knowingly entering or remaining on the U.S. Capitol or its grounds without authority, disorderly and disruptive conduct, knowingly engaging in any physical violence against persons or property on U.S. Capitol grounds, and willfully injuring or attacking property of the United States, according to court documents.
“In this case, the FBI received multiple tips regarding Ryan Kelley’s presence at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021,” the FBI said in a document submitted to the court.
The FBI said in the complaint that agents interviewed three people familiar with Kelly to confirm his identity. The FBI also “employed the assistance of the Confidential Human Source because that Source had an extensive background in online research and data management,” the complaint said.
In the document, federal investigators included photos of Kelley in a black backward baseball cap and sunglasses trying to rally the protesters. The feds claim the images show Kelley recording the crowd pushing past Capitol Police outside the building on the northwestern scaffolding.
“At approximately 2:00 p.m., KELLEY climbed onto and stood on an architectural feature next to the North West stairs and indicated by waving his hand that the crowd behind him should move towards the stairs leading into the U.C. Capitol building,” the document reads.
The complaint does not state that Kelley entered the building, but indicates he moved onto the stairs and then climbed onto “an architectural feature” next to the North West stairs,
and indicated by waving his hand that the crowd behind him should move towards the stairs leading into the U.C. Capitol building.”
“This activity was also captured on CCV, showing KELLEY using his hands to support another rioter who is pulling the metal barricade onto the scaffolding,” the document continues.
“…At approximately 2:05 p.m., (Kelley) used his hands to pull a covering off of a temporary structure that U.S. Capitol personnel had erected in support of a future planned event,” the FBI alleged.
“At approximately 2:20 p.m., KELLEY continued to gesture to the crowd, consistently indicating that they should move towards the stairs that led to the entrance of the U.S. Capitol interior spaces,” the complaint continues.
Federal investigators cited surveillance video and images on social media as evidence.
“At approximately 2:25 p.m., the individual in the black hat (believed to be Kelley) uses his cell phone to take a picture of blood on an architectural feature at the U.S. Capitol Grounds, while standing on same, in a video posted to YouTube,” the document says. “…At about 2:29 p.m. the individual arrives at the top of the stairs and enters the U.S. Capitol’s North West Courtyard and uses their thumb to motion towards the doors to the interior of the U.S. Capitol Building.”
Shortly thereafter, Capitol police started to eject people from the area. Kelley was last seen at the U.S. Capitol around 3:26 p.m., according to the complaint.
As further evidence against the candidate, the document goes on to cite Kelley’s opposition to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and his opinions that Democrats stole the election from former President Donald Trump.
Kelley declined to answer reporters’ questions after he was released on bond Thursday afternoon, but was greeted by a crowd of his supporters outside the court building in Grand Rapids, the Detroit News reported.
A group of a couple dozen Ryan Kelley supporters, including his wife, pray as they gather outside the federal courthouse in Grand Rapids. Kelley will be arraigned in 15 minutes – quite a few supporters will also be in the courtroom. pic.twitter.com/YbMhgN30pi
— Rachel Louise Just (@RLJnews) June 9, 2022
“We’ll talk later,” he told reporters.
Matt DePerno showed up as Ryan Kelley walked out of the Grand Rapids federal courthouse. pic.twitter.com/Lc6ebYyWL0
— Andrew Minegar (@Minegar) June 9, 2022
GOP candidate Ryan Kelley walked out of the federal courthouse in Grand Rapids this afternoon after being charged with 4 misdemeanors for his alleged involvement in the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. pic.twitter.com/RhOuCRoEfW
— Rose White (@rosekellywhite) June 9, 2022
GOP attorney general candidate Matt DePerno, a lawyer from Kalamazoo, told reporters outside the courthouse that the FBI treatment of Kelley was unnecessarily harsh.
“Ryan is a friend. He’s got a family. He’s got six kids. And the FBI dragged him out of his house in front of his six kids,” DePerno said. “That’s not what we do.”
According to a neighbor, Kelley’s wife and children left the home with backpacks in hand and got into a family van soon after Kelley was taken into custody. Another neighbor said told the Detroit Free Press there were six to eight unmarked FBI vehicles parked up and down the street ahead of the arrest. He said he was surprised to see it because the Kelleys are “super nice, very pleasant people.”
Meshawn Maddock, a co-chair of the state Republican Party, blasted the arrest in a tweet Thursday, writing: “Do people really get their homes raided and arrested in front of their children over a misdemeanor? Democrats are out in force weaponizing our justice system and targeting their political opponents.”