U.S. Capitol Police Officer Charged After Encouraging Jan. 6 Rioter to Delete Evidence of Involvement

·2 min read
Photo by Evelyn Hockstein via Getty Images
Photo by Evelyn Hockstein via Getty Images

A U.S. Capitol police officer has been hit with charges of obstruction of justice over allegations he allegedly helped hide evidence relating to a rioter’s involvement in the Jan. 6 insurrection.

The Associated Press reports Michael A. Riley, a Capitol Police officer for 25 years, is accused of warning someone who participated in the riot to delete social media posts that showed the person inside the Capitol. Riley and the alleged rioter exchanged several direct messages on Facebook in the days following the storming of the Capitol.

“[I’]m a capitol police officer who agrees with your political stance,” Riley said in a Facebook direct message, according to the indictment. “Take down the part about being in the building they are correctly investigating and everyone who was in the building is going to be charged. Just looking out!”

In another message, Riley wrote, “Just wanted to give you a heads up… Im glad you got out of there unscathed. We had over 50 officers hurt, some pretty bad,” the indictment said.

Justice Department officials said Riley was arrested Friday on two counts of obstruction of justice charges. He is the first police officer charged with criminal conduct in connection to the failed coup attempt.

According to Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger, Riley has been placed on administrative leave pending the completion of the case. After appearing virtually in federal court on Friday, he was released under strict conditions, and is due to return to court later this month.

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