Conservative Michigan gubernatorial candidate Ryan D. Kelley was arrested in connection to the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, The Washington Post reports. The Justice Department announced he was taken into custody on misdemeanor charges of participating in the siege of the building, including a count of damaging federal property.
Court documents state that Kelley was identified in videos that showed him allegedly waving at the rioters and ushering them up the stairway to head into the Capitol. He’s accused of supporting another attendee who pulled a metal barricade onto scaffolding that was holding up the stage for President Joe Biden’s inauguration.
Kelley has denied entering the Capitol building itself. His home was searched by the FBI Thursday morning.
The candidate faces four counts punishable by up to a year in prison, including trespassing, disorderly conduct and committing an act of violence against a person or property on restricted grounds.
Kelley’s supporters were outraged at what they described as a senseless arrest.
“It is very telling why the FBI arrested Ryan Kelley, because they know he’d be a great Governor for Michigan,” one user wrote on Twitter. “Never forget they staged Gretchen Whitmer being kidnapped, to make Trump supporters look bad.”
“He is the leading GOP candidate here in Michigan and the sham Jan 6th hearings are tonight. How can people not see through this BS? This is no longer a free country. Political imprisonment is now the norm. God Bless Ryan D Kelley, he has mine and many many other’s vote,” another tweeted.
According to Holland Sentinel managing editor Audra Gamble, Kelley was released from federal custody Thursday afternoon on a personal recognizance bond. His next court appearance is scheduled for June 16 on Zoom. He will appear in a D.C. federal court virtually.
Despite being taken into custody, Kelley appeared to be unfazed in a video that showed the candidate smiling and greeting his supporters while they applauded him.
MI candidate for governor Ryan D. Kelley appears upbeat while greeting supporters after his arraignment. Kelley was arrested and charged this morning for his activities on Jan. 6 at the U.S. Capitol. pic.twitter.com/jicTsqirHs
— Left of Center MI (@leftofcentermi) June 9, 2022
Kelley is the latest Republican officeholder, candidate, or local party leader to be charged in connection with the Capitol siege, The Washington Post reports. Several have pleaded guilty or have been convicted.
The House Select Committee investigating the riot is gearing up to hold it’s first televised hearing Thursday.