Oct 15, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Capitol Police officer indicted for obstructing Jan. 6 investigation

Trump supporters clash with police and security forces as people try to storm the US Capitol on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC.
Trump supporters clash with police and security forces as people try to storm the Capitol on Jan. 6. Photo: Brent Stirton/Getty Images

A U.S. Capitol Police officer has been indicted on obstruction of justice charges for allegedly helping hide evidence of a participant's involvement in the Jan. 6 riot.

Driving the news: Officer Michael A. Riley, 50, is accused of telling the unidentified participant, referred to as "Person 1," in the Jan. 6 riot to delete posts from Facebook, which showed them in the Capitol during the attack.

  • Riley allegedly sent a message to the rioter saying, "Im a capitol police officer who agrees with your political stance [sic]," according to the indictment.
  • "Take down the part about being in the building they are currently investigating and everyone who was in the building is going to be charged. Just looking out!," Riley wrote.
  • "Riley and Person 1 exchanged dozens more Facebook direct messages on January 7, 2021," according to the indictment.
  • Person 1 and Riley had never met but "were avid fishermen and members of fishing-related Facebook groups," according to the indictment.

The big picture: Capitol Police in September recommended disciplinary action for six officers over their alleged roles in the insurrection, Axios reported.

  • The announcement followed an internal review into officers' conduct during the Capitol riot, which saw six officers suspended with pay and 29 others placed under investigation for their conduct during the attack.
  • The report found six violations: Three for "conduct unbecoming," and one each for failure to comply with directives, improper remarks and improper dissemination of information.

What to watch: Riley is set to appear in federal court in Washington, D.C., on Friday, per the Associated Press.

Go deeper: Capitol Police recommend 6 officers face disciplinary action for riot conduct.

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