Capitol Police officer charged with obstructing riot investigation

A 25-year veteran of the U.S. Capitol Police drive was charged Friday with making an attempt to guard a person who was later accused of illegally coming into the Capitol through the January 6 riot.

A grand jury indictment charged Officer Michael Angelo Riley with repeatedly telling the person to delete all social media that would offer proof of coming into the constructing that day.

“[I’]m a capitol police officer who agrees together with your political stance,” Riley stated in a Fb direct message, in line with the indictment. “Take down the half about being within the constructing they’re appropriately investigating and everybody who was within the constructing goes to be charged. Simply looking!”

Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger stated Riley was positioned on go away.

“Obstruction of justice is a really critical allegation,” Manger stated. “The division was notified about this investigation a number of weeks in the past. Upon his arrest, the officer was positioned on administrative go away pending the completion of the case.”

Capitol police will conduct their very own administrative investigation, he stated.

Court docket paperwork stated Riley, a member of the police Okay-9 unit, despatched a Fb pal request to a person described solely as “Individual 1” on Jan. 1. Each have been in Fb teams dedicated to fishing. The day after the riot, Riley despatched a direct message to Individual 1, who had posted photographs and movies admitting his presence within the Capitol.

Regulation enforcement officers stated Individual 1 is a Virginia fishing constitution boat operator, Jacob Hiles. He pleaded responsible in early September to a cost of illegally parading within the Capitol and will probably be sentenced in December. Court docket paperwork in his case stated he “smoked an unknown substance” throughout his time within the constructing.

The 2 exchanged dozens extra Fb direct messages, the indictment stated. When Individual 1 stated he didn’t suppose he had executed something mistaken, Riley responded, “The one factor I can see is in the event you went within the constructing and so they have proof you’ll be charged.”

A number of days later, Riley suggested Individual 1, “Get off of social media,” the indictment stated.

Court docket paperwork stated that on Jan. 20, the person advised Riley that the FBI was interested by his conversations with the Capitol police officer, and that Riley then deleted all his Fb direct messages to and from Individual 1.

The subsequent day, the indictment stated, Riley despatched him a brand new message saying a video confirmed the person within the Capitol “smoking weed and performing like a moron. I’ve to say i used to be shocked and dumfounded, since your story of getting pushed within the constructing with no different selection now appears not solely false however an enormous lie. I really feel like a moron for believing you.”

Riley obtained commendations from the Capitol Police and a nationwide regulation enforcement group in about 10 years in the past for performing resuscitative measures on a fellow police officer struggling a medical emergency.

Justice Division officers stated Riley was arrested Friday on obstruction of justice expenses. The title of his attorneys was not instantly obtainable.

Frank Thorp V contributed.

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