Capitol Police officer Michael Riley was arrested Friday on two obstruction of justice charges after allegedly telling someone to delete footage showing him at the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol.
Riley, a 25-year veteran of the police force, also told the contact to remove footage from all social media accounts, according to Friday's indictment. While he did not know the contact personally, they were part of the same Facebook group in which he located the footage and identified himself before warning the man of the mass investigation into those inside the building, the indictment added.
“I'm a capitol police officer who agrees with your political stance,” Riley purportedly wrote. “Take down the part about being in the building they are currently investigating and everyone who was in the building is going to be charged. Just looking out!”
He exchanged nearly a dozen messages with the man after the storming until the contact stopped on Jan. 19, offering the man to stay with him in Washington in the future to visit the Capitol legally, prosecutors allege.
Following the insurrection, three dozen officers were investigated for misconduct, six of whom were suspended with pay.
“Obstruction of Justice is a very serious allegation. The department was notified about this investigation several weeks ago,” U.S. Capitol Police Chief Thomas Manger told the Washington Examiner. "On his arrest, the officer was placed on administrative leave pending the completion of the case. The USCP’s Office of Professional Responsibility will then open an administrative investigation.”
Being placed on administrative leave during an investigation is considered standard procedure.
Riley was not in the Capitol building during the attack, but he was responding to reports of an explosive device near the Capitol complex, the indictment added.
The Jan. 6 commission has been working to enforce subpoenas for those believed to have been involved in the insurrection or to have knowledge of actions preceding the event. Steve Bannon, a close ally of former President Donald Trump, now faces criminal contempt proceedings from the commission after refusing to comply, instead citing Trump's intent to invoke executive privilege as his reason not to cooperate.
Riley is expected to appear in court Friday afternoon.
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Original Author: Misty Severi
Original Location: Capitol Police officer charged with obstruction of justice