Capitol Police Officer Charged With Obstructing Justice in Jan. 6 Case

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Politics|Capitol Police Officer Charged With Obstructing Justice successful Jan. 6 Case

Michael A. Riley, a seasoned of the force, encouraged a antheral successful the Capitol during the riot to delete societal media posts showing helium was there, according to the indictment.

The mob astatine  the U.S. Capitol connected  Jan. 6. Scores of constabulary  officers were beaten, bloodied and injured that day.
Credit...Jason Andrew for The New York Times

Published Oct. 15, 2021Updated Oct. 17, 2021, 9:11 a.m. ET

WASHINGTON — A U.S. Capitol Police serviceman was arrested Friday connected charges that helium obstructed justness by telling a antheral who had entered the Capitol illegally during the Jan. 6 riot to delete grounds of his actions that time from his societal media accounts.

Michael A. Riley, 50, a subordinate of the agency’s K-9 portion with much than 25 years connected the force, is the archetypal serviceman charged with a transgression successful transportation with the Jan. 6 onslaught connected the Capitol, erstwhile scores of his chap officers were beaten, bloodied and injured by a pro-Trump mob spurred connected by the prevarication of wide predetermination fraud.

He was released pending an Oct. 26 hearing.

According to an indictment from a national expansive assemblage successful Washington, connected Jan. 7 Officer Riley contacted an acquaintance who had posted images connected Facebook of himself wrong the Capitol during the onslaught to promote him to instrumentality down the grounds that helium had been successful the building. Officer Riley did not cognize the antheral personally, the indictment said, but had precocious go acquainted with him done an online radical for sportfishing enthusiasts.

“I’m a Capitol Police serviceman who agrees with your governmental stance,” the serviceman wrote to the man, according the indictment. “Take down the portion astir being successful the gathering they are presently investigating and everyone who was successful the gathering is going to charged. Just looking out!”

Officer Riley and the antheral past exchanged dozens of messages.

“I’m gladsome you got retired of determination unscathed,” Officer Riley wrote astatine 1 point. “We had implicit 50 officers hurt, immoderate beauteous bad.”

Officer Riley responded to reports of an explosive instrumentality adjacent the Capitol connected Jan. 6, but was not defending the gathering erstwhile the mob stormed in, disrupting Congress’s authoritative number of electoral votes to corroborate President Biden’s victory.

On Jan. 20, the unidentified antheral turned himself successful to constabulary and told them helium had been talking with Officer Riley, past warned the serviceman that national instrumentality enforcement officials were alert they had been communicating.

“The F.B.I. was precise funny that I had been speaking to you if they haven’t already asked you astir maine they are gonna,” the antheral wrote to Officer Riley, according to the indictment. “They took my telephone and downloaded everything.”

After receiving that message, Officer Riley deleted each his Facebook messages with the man, and the adjacent day, sent him a last Facebook message, according to the indictment.

“Another communal person was talking astir you past night. I tried to support you but past helium showed maine a video of you successful the Capitol smoking weed and acting similar a moron,” helium wrote. “I person to say, I was shocked and dumbfounded, since your communicative of getting pushed successful the gathering with nary different prime present seems not lone mendacious but is simply a implicit lie. I consciousness similar a moron for believing you.”

Officer Riley was charged with 2 counts of obstruction of justice, each of which carries a maximum punishment of 20 years successful prison.

In a statement, Chief J. Thomas Manger of the Capitol Police called the allegations “very serious,” and said the department’s Office of Professional Responsibility would unfastened an administrative probe into the officer’s conduct.

“The section was notified astir this probe respective weeks ago,” helium said successful a statement. “Upon his arrest, the serviceman was placed connected administrative permission pending the completion of the case.”

The charges against Officer Riley travel aft an interior Capitol Police probe recommended that six different officers beryllium disciplined based connected their actions during the riot. Three officers were singled retired for unbecoming conduct, 1 serviceman for nonaccomplishment to comply with directives, 1 serviceman for improper remarks and 1 serviceman for improper dissemination of information, the Capitol Police said successful a statement.

None of those officers were named oregon charged with a crime.

Even arsenic the bulk of the constabulary unit has grappled with the trauma of the attack, videos wide circulating connected societal media appeared to amusement immoderate officers treating the rioters sympathetically oregon doing small to halt them from entering the complex.

Officer Brian D. Sicknick of the Capitol Police died of a changeable successful the infirmary aft fending disconnected the mob, and astatine slightest 73 officers were wounded that time aft being assaulted with flagpoles, occurrence extinguishers and hockey sticks, injuries that ranged from bruises to concussions and burns.

Four officers who responded to the Capitol riot aboriginal took their ain lives.

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