Pro-Trump candidate for Michigan governor Ryan Kelley was arrested this Thursday after the FBI served a search warrant at his Allendale home on charges related to the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
Kelley is facing charges of knowingly entering a restricted building, disorderly or disruptive conduct in a restricted building, knowingly engaging in violence while in a restricted building, and willfully injuring any property of the United States government.
Speaking to The Detroit News, one of Kelley's neighbors said she witnessed FBI agents leading Kelley away from his home in handcuffs Thursday morning.
“He was just cooperating,” neighbor Kenzi Niewiadomski said. “What are you going to do at that point?”
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Niewiadomski went on to say that she dislikes Kelley as a politician.
“I’ve been waiting for this moment,” Niewiadomski said, referring to Kelley's arrest.
The Justice Department said Kelley took part in the violent attack on the Capitol that aimed to halt the certification of Democrat Joe Biden's victory over Trump in the presidential election two months earlier.
Kelley is currently a planning commission member in Allendale, Michigan, and founder of the far-right American Patriot Council.
“Just days after their field was cut in half due to corruption and mass fraud, Republican gubernatorial candidates’ callous disregard for the principles of democracy was on full display again today as Ryan Kelley was taken into custody by the FBI following his participation in the January 6th insurrection," Michigan Democratic Party chair Lavora Barnes said in a statement.
An affidavit filed in Washington federal court detailed his participation in the January 6 unrest, using video, photographs and other information posted on social media, as well as phone records, to identify him.
Some showed him urging the crowd to enter the Capitol.
A video from the day posted online by the Michigan Tea news site allegedly depicts Kelley yelling, "Come on, let's go! This is it! This is, this is war baby!"
A poll in May showed him leading a crowded field of candidates hoping to win the Republican nomination for Michigan governor.
Raising his profile in the state, he and the American Patriot Council have led protests against Covid-19 containment policies including masking and vaccination over the past two years.
It was not immediately known how the arrest would affect his gubernatorial campaign.
His Facebook page posted a two-word statement saying: "Political Prisoner."
Kelley is one of more than 840 people who have been arrested for taking part in the attack on the seat of the US Congress that day.
Most, including Kelley, have been charged with misdemeanor counts of illegally entering the Capitol and obstructing an official meeting of Congress.
But around 255 face criminal charges of assault, theft and conspiracy.
On Monday, five members of the far-right Proud Boys group, which had an organizing role in the January 6 events, were charged with seditious conspiracy, which carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.
With additional reporting by AFP