Capitol Police officer charged with trying to help a January 6 rioter avoid law enforcement

·3 min read
capitol riots flag
A group of Trump protesters wave flags while standing on an armored police vehicle on the grounds of the Capitol Building in Washington DC, on January 6, 2021. Jon Cherry/Getty Images
  • Federal prosecutors accused a Capitol Police officer on Friday of helping a January 6 rioter.

  • The officer, Michael Riley, has been charged with two counts of obstruction.

  • The indictment says he bonded with the accused rioter over fishing and invited him over to his house.

A Capitol Police officer has been indicted on two felony counts of obstruction for allegedly helping a January 6 rioter hide evidence.

Prosecutors say officer Michael Angelo Riley - who worked with the K-9 unit and has been with the department for nearly 25 years - told an unnamed rioter to remove online photos of him at the Capitol to avoid criminal charges, according to the indictment filed in US District Court on Thursday.

Riley is accused of sending dozens of messages to the rioter.

"I am a Capitol Police officer who agrees with your political stance," Riley wrote in one message with the unnamed person, as quoted in the indictment. "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!"

Riley has since been placed on leave until the completion of the case, Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger told Insider.

"Obstruction of Justice is a very serious allegation," Manger said, adding that the department will open an internal investigation once Riley's criminal case is finished.

According to the indictment, Riley was working as a member of the Capitol Police on January 6, when a mob in support of then-President Donald Trump rioted at the Capitol building and sought to stop Congress from certifying the results of the 2020 election.

Riley wasn't present at the Capitol building itself, but responded to reports of an explosive nearby, prosecutors wrote.

Riley and the unnamed rioter became Facebook friends on January 1, the indictment says. On January 7, the day after the insurrection, the officer messaged the other person and advised him to take down photos of himself at the Capitol building, prosecutors said.

"It was a total shit show!!!" Riley said in a message obtained by prosecutors. "Just wanted to give you a heads up... we had over 50 officers hurt, some pretty bad."

The two also talked a lot about fishing, according to prosecutors.

In the following days, messages obtained by prosecutors show Riley advised the unnamed rioter about the FBI's strategy in pursuing people who stormed the Capitol building. He also invited him to his house.

"Lesson learned!" one message read.

"Next time you want to come to DC just call me, you can stay at my house on the shore for free and bring your daughter to the museums," another of Riley's messages read. "If you want to see the capitol buildings, let's do it legally next time."

The FBI arrested the accused rioter on January 19. On January 20, he told Riley about his interview with the FBI, and Riley deleted all of their direct messages later that day, according to the indictment.

Insider could not immediately identify an attorney representing Riley. Riley is due to appear in federal court in Washington later Friday.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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