Michigan Governor Candidate Ryan Kelley, Who Was at the Capitol on Jan. 6, Is Arrested


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

Mr. 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, Mr. 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 spokesman for the United States attorney’s office in the District of Columbia.

An F.B.I. agent described Mr. Kelley’s actions in a filing to the court, saying at one point that Mr. Kelley appeared to use his phone “to film the crowd assault and pushing past U.S. Capitol police officers.” The filing also said that Mr. 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.

Mr. 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, Mich., in May 2020, according to the filing.

Efforts to reach Mr. 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 ahead of the Republican primary on Aug. 2, in which Mr. Kelley is competing with four other candidates for the chance to face Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, in the general election this fall.

Mr. 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, Mr. 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.

Alan Feuer, David D. Kirkpatrick and Mike McIntire contributed reporting.



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