ALLENDALE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Justice for Black Lives is calling on the Allendale Charter Township Planning Commission to remove Ryan Kelley from the board.
The group cites his connection to militia groups and a now-deleted Facebook comment calling Black Lives Matter the “same as the KKK” and a “terrorist organization.”
“All he’s doing is giving the racists in our community a platform to stand on,” Jessica Miller, executive director of Justice for Black Lives, a Grand Rapids-based organization aiming to make legislative and community-based changes for people of color.
Miller said Kelley invited militia members to an American Patriot Rally in Lansing, a protest against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s coronavirus restrictions in Grand Rapids and to a protest in Allendale, where demonstrators were calling for a confederate statue to be removed in June. In that crowd was William Null, one of 13 men authorities charged with plotting to kidnap Whitmer.
“It’s disgusting, ” Miller said. “It’s scary.”
Kelley said that he has met William and Michael Null, two of the 13 men charged with plotting to kidnap the governor, at two rallies he attended this summer. He told News 8 he doesn’t communicate with or know any of the men charged.
“I don’t have their contact information, and I did not have communication with them before or after the event (confederate statue protest in June),” said Kelley. “It’s guilty by media, right, guilty by an association with no grounds of proof or due process of law to prove that that has any affiliation with me.”
Meanwhile, Allendale resident Jeff Seaver said he submitted a Freedom of Information Act to request correspondence between Kelley and Allendale Township Supervisor Adam Elenbaas, who he said appointed Kelley to the board.
The documents showed Kelley messaged Elenbaas the day before the June Confederate statute protest saying “We are showing up in force with militia and more to counter-protest. I have my megaphone and am going to be loud, heavily armed and patriotic.”
“You’re known by the company you keep,” said Seaver.
Elenbaas didn’t want to go on camera but confirms to News 8 that Kelley told him he was inviting the militia to that protest.
“It sends a message to the community that we are white and that outsiders aren’t welcome,” said Seaver.