WASHINGTON – A US Capitol police officer was arrested Friday for allegedly asking a man who entered the Capitol illegally during the January 6 riots to remove evidence of that day’s actions from his social media accounts. Justice obstructed.
Michael A. Riley, 50, a member of the agency’s K-9 unit that has been in force for more than 25 years, is the first officer charged with a crime in connection with the January 6 attack on the Capitol, when several of his accomplices lied of widespread election fraud. Officers were beaten, bled and wounded by a pro-Trump mob inspired by Trump.
He was put up for hearing on October 26.
According to an indictment by a federal grand jury in Washington, on January 7, Officer Riley contacted an acquaintance who had posted photos on Facebook of himself inside the Capitol during the attack to encourage him to remove the evidence. that he was in the building. . Officer Riley did not know the man personally, the indictment said, but had recently become acquainted with him through an online group for fishing enthusiasts.
According to the indictment, the officer wrote to the man, “I am a Capitol Police officer who agrees with your political stance.” “Part about being in the building they’re currently investigating and everyone living in the building is being charged. Just watching!”
Officer Riley and the man then exchanged dozens of messages.
“I’m glad you got out there spotless,” Officer Riley wrote at one point. “We had hurt over 50 officers, some very bad.”
Officer Riley responded to reports of an explosive device near the Capitol on January 6, but not guarding the building, when a crowd obstructed the official counting of congressional electoral votes to confirm President Biden’s victory. .
On January 20, the unidentified man turned himself in to police and told them he had been speaking with Officer Riley, then warned the officer that federal law enforcement officers knew they were communicating.
According to the indictment, the man wrote to Officer Riley, “The FBI was very curious that I was talking to you if they hadn’t already asked you about what they were going to do.” “They took my phone and downloaded everything.”
After receiving that message, Officer Riley deleted all of his Facebook messages with the man, and the next day, according to the indictment, sent him one final Facebook message.
“Another mutual friend was talking about you last night. I tried to defend you, but then he showed me a video of me smoking in the Capitol and acting like a fool,” he wrote. Have to say, I was shocked and stunned, because now your story of being pushed into a building without a choice not only seems false, but outright untrue. I feel like a fool for believing you. “
Officer Riley was charged with two counts of obstruction of justice, each carrying a maximum fine of 20 years in person.
In a statement, Capital Police Chief J. Thomas Manger called the allegations “very serious” and said the Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility would conduct an administrative investigation into the officer’s conduct.
“The department was informed of this investigation several weeks ago,” he said in a statement. “Upon his arrest, the officer was placed on administrative leave till the completion of the case.”
The charges against Officer Riley come after an internal Capitol Police investigation recommended six other officers to be disciplined based on their actions during the riot. Capitol Police said in a statement that three officers were selected for indecent conduct, one officer for failure to comply with instructions, one officer for inappropriate remarks and one officer for improper dissemination of information.
None of those officers were named or charged with the crime.
Even as most of the police force grapples with the trauma of the attack, videos circulated widely on social media show some officers treating the rioters sympathetically or doing nothing to stop them from entering the premises. are.
Capitol Police Officer Brian D. Siknik died of a stroke in hospital after stopping a crowd, and at least 73 officers were injured that day after being attacked with flagpoles, fire extinguishers and hockey sticks, with injuries ranging from concussions and injuries. burns.
Two officers who clashed with the crowd later took their own lives.