/  10.15.2021

A Capitol Police officer has been indicted on obstruction of justice charges after prosecutors said he helped a rioter hide evidence of their involvement in the Jan. 6 attack. According to prosecutors, officer Michael A. Riley sent a Facebook message to a rioter telling them to remove posts that showed them inside the U.S. Capitol.

Riley allegedly identified himself as a police officer who “agrees with your political stance” before telling the rioter to remove their posts and videos from within the Capitol so they wouldn’t get into trouble. According to the indictment, he called the attack a “total shit show” and wrote to the rioter, “I’m glad you got out of there unscathed. We had over 50 officers hurt, some pretty bad.”

Furthermore, Riley also informed the rioter about the FBI’s investigation into the insurrection, saying, “They’re arresting dozens of people a day. Everyone that was in the building. Engaged in violent acts or destruction of property and they’re all being charged federally with felonies.”

The officer, who has been with the Capitol Police for 25 years, was arrested on Friday (Oct. 15) and appeared virtually in a federal Washington court. He was released under the conditions that he surrender any firearms and not leave the country without permission from a judge. He is reportedly due back in court later this month.

In a statement, U.S. Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger said Riley has been on administrative leave since the department found out about the investigation several weeks ago. Manger added that the department’s Office of Professional Responsibility would launch an internal probe and called the indictment a “very serious allegation.” The office previously investigated 26 officers’ behavior in regard to the riot, but found no wrongdoing for 20 of them.

Riley is the first Capitol Police officer to be charged with a crime involving the riot.


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