A member of the capitol police was indicted with two felony counts of obstruction of justice charges in connection with the Jan 6 attack. According to CBS affiliate WUSA 9, officer Michael Angelo Riley friended someone on Facebook just days before the attack.
The day after the attack, Riley allegedly warned the user to delete posts containing photos and commentary connected to the attack on the Capitol. The Department of Justice announced Friday that Riley was arrested in connection with his actions.
With over 25 years of law enforcement experience, he was released on his own recognizance after a court appearance Friday afternoon. Riley is scheduled for a hearing on Oct. 26.
From the information provided, Riley was not on duty in the Capitol building on Jan. 6 but did respond to a report of a possible explosive device near the Capitol complex. At the end of its statement, the DOJ stressed that indictments aren’t convictions and people are innocent until proven guilty.
While this may be true, Riley’s actions and sympathy for the individual listed in federal documents as “Person 1” illustrate the larger concerns of anti-democracy sentiments within law enforcement ranks. The indictment indicates that a review of the evidence shows that Riley and “Person 1” exchanged dozens of messages on Jan. 7.
At one point, Riley advised “Person 1” to leave social media to avoid discussions about the individual’s conduct on Jan. 6. He even gave “Person 1” his cell phone number to discuss the individual’s posting and involvement issues. He also advised the person to delete specific posts because of the ongoing investigation.
After learning the FBI was interested in his correspondence with “Person 1,” Riley deleted all of his messages with the individual. He then tried to play it off as if he suddenly learned about the real nature of the individual’s actions.
More from the indictment:
On January 21, 2021 — 12 days after he received and acknowledged a video and photo of Person 1 smoking inside the U.S. Capitol — Riley sent Person 1 a Facebook direct message stating:
Hey [Person 1], another mutual friend was talking about you last night. I tried to defend you but then he showed me a video of you in the Capitol smoking weed and acting like a moron. I have to say, I was shocked and dumbfounded, since your story of getting pushed in the building with no other choice now seems not only false but is a complete lie. I feel like a moron for believing you…I was so mad last night I deleted all your post, but I wanted to text you this morning and let you know that I will no longer be conversing with you.