Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Clear Day 86° Clear
News >  Nation/World

FBI Arrests Candidate for Governor Who Was at the Capitol on Jan. 6

UPDATED: Thu., June 9, 2022

By Azi Paybarah The New York Times

Ryan Kelley, a Republican running for governor in Michigan who was at the Capitol during the Jan. 6 attack in 2021, was arrested at his home in Allendale, Michigan, on Thursday morning, according to Mara R. Schneider, a special agent with the FBI.

Kelley is the first person running for election in a major state or federal race to be charged in connection with the attack.

According to a criminal complaint, Kelley was charged with committing violence against a person or property on restricted grounds, damaging federal property, disorderly conduct and entering a restricted building or grounds without permission. All four charges are misdemeanors, according to a spokesperson for the U.S. attorney’s office in the District of Columbia.

An FBI agent described Kelley’s actions in a filing to the court, saying at one point that Kelley appeared to use his phone “to film the crowd assault and pushing past U.S. Capitol police officers.” The filing also said that Kelley used “his hands to support another rioter” who was pulling down a metal barricade, and that he gestured “to the crowd, consistently indicating” that it should continue moving toward the entrance to the Capitol.

Kelley was able to be identified, in part, because what he wore on Jan. 6 was similar to the outfit he wore at the American Patriot Council “Judgement Day” rally in Lansing, Michigan, in May 2020, according to the filing.

Efforts to reach Kelley and his campaign were unsuccessful. The mailbox for the telephone number listed for the campaign was full and could not accept messages.

A man who answered the telephone listed for the campaign treasurer said, “No comment, thank you” when reached by a reporter.

The arrest comes before the Republican primary on Aug. 2, in which Kelley is competing with four other candidates for the chance to face Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, in the general election this fall.

Kelley, a real estate broker in a suburb of Grand Rapids, was the lead organizer of an armed protest against pandemic lockdown measures at the Michigan Statehouse in April 2020. In June that year, he called together about 50 militiamen to square off against a few dozen Black Lives Matter protesters over a statue of a Confederate soldier in his town.

And after the 2020 presidential election, Kelley and militia members showed up for a rowdy protest outside a ballot-counting center in the state.

“Becoming too closely aligned with militias – is that a bad thing?” he said in an earlier interview.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe now to get breaking news alerts in your email inbox

Get breaking news delivered to your inbox as it happens.