Criminal charges filed against Texas Realtor Jenna Ryan

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Criminal charges filed against Texas Realtor Jenna Ryan

Nine days after participating in the riots at the U.S. Capitol, federal criminal charges were filed against Frisco, Texas-based Realtor and broker Jenna Ryan.

Ryan is charged with “knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority” and “disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds,” according to the federal criminal complaint on Friday.

Federal prosecutors point to Ryan saying in a now-deleted Facebook video, “We are going to [expletive] go in here” outside the Capitol and “life or death, it doesn’t matter.” Then, just before entering, she said, “Y’all know who to hire for your realtor – Jenna Ryan for your realtor.”

Aiding the prosecutors are several videos Ryan appears to have shot herself, including one of her making it to the front of the Capitol – with broken windows in the background – and shouting “U-S-A! U-S-A!” and then, “Here we are, in the name of Jesus!” At the end of the video, she then turns on her rear-facing camera again, which clearly shows her face inside the building.

Ryan’s social media pages, many of which are now blocked from the public or altogether deleted, were full of comments ranging from support to demanding her real estate license be revoked.

Whether that happens remains to be seen.

In a statement made to HousingWire last week, the National Association of Realtors said it “stands with federal law enforcement as they work to thoroughly investigate [last week’s] events and ensure all those accused of breaking the law are prosecuted to the fullest extent.” NAR also has an extensive hate-speech policy posted to its website.

However, NAR officials have claimed in the days following the riots that “merely being a participant in something that appears likely to involve criminal activity does not automatically invoke” its rule against hate speech.

One of NAR’s new policies, known as 10-5, states that: “Realtors must not use harassing speech, hate speech, epithets, or slurs based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity.”

On a webinar hosted by the trade group this week, Matt Difanis, the NAR’s chair of professional standards committee, told attendees that the 10-5 rule wasn’t instituted to police political beliefs or statements, according to Inman News. He further said that there’s an investigative process to determine whether a Realtor unlawfully entered a restricted area at the Capitol, and that clear evidence of hate speech could constitute a violation of 10-5.

“But merely being a participant in something that appears likely to involve criminal activity does not automatically invoke 10-5,” he said, according to the publication.

The Texas Real Estate Commission also condemned the violence, but told HousingWire that it “does not have the authority to revoke or suspend a license holder that has been only charged or accused of committing a felony or criminal offense that involves fraud.”

Ryan is one of at least two real estate agents to be arrested for the insurrection at the Capitol last week. Former Olympic swimmer Klete Keller resigned as a commercial real estate at Colorado-based brokerage Hoff & Leigh.

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