Capitol Police Officer Michael Riley was indicted on Thursday for misconduct related to an internal police probe on the response to the January 6 riot. The indictment on two counts of obstruction of justice stated that:
On January 7, 2021, in the Districtof Columbia and elsewhere, the defendant, MICHAEL ANGELO RILEY, aid knowingly corruptly persuade, and attempt to do so, with intent to cause and induce any person to alter, destroy, mutilate, and conceal an object with intent to impair the objects integrity and availabilty for use in an official proceeding —that is, RILEY directed Person 1 to take down from Facebook records relating to his conduct at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, with the intent of making the records unavailable for use in the federal investigation resulting from the January 6 breach of the U.S. Capitol.
On January 20, 2021, in the District of Columbia and elsewhere, the defendant, MICHAEL ANGELO RILEY, did corruptly alter, destroy, mutilate, and conceala record, document, and other object, and attempt 10 do so, with the intent to impair its integrity and availability for use in an official proceeding— that is, RILEY deleted his Facebook direct communications with Person 1 to impair their use in the federal investigation resulting from the January 6 breach of the U.S. Capitol.
As was reported by Axios, Riley had contacted a rioter and had issued a number of messages:
- 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 Capitol Police in September issued recommendations for indictments for six officers. Violations were sustained and disciplinary action was recommended in six cases;
- Three for conduct unbecoming
- One for failure to comply with directives
- One for improper remarks
- One for improper dissemination of information
- Another case about an official who is accused of unsatisfactory performance and conduct unbecoming is still pending. The administrative investigation started after a criminal investigation, in which charges were not filed.
In February, six Capitol Police officers were suspended for their actions during the Capitol riot. Videos from the day of the attack showed various officers escorting rioters into the building. USCP officers can also be seen opening barricades to let the mob enter the Capitol building complex.
Rep. Tim Ryan, a Democrat from Ohio, expressed his concern about Capitol Police officer behavior during the January 6 events.
“We do have a couple of Capitol Police we talked about before with taking selfies and another, another Capitol Police [officer] evidently put on a MAGA hat and was walking people, not sure all the details,” said Ryan, “They have been suspended. Someone else has been arrested.”
The behavior of Capitol Police officers on January 6 was suspect from the very beginning. Nine months later, we are still finding out the acts of wrongdoing committed by a secretive police body that reports directly to the U.S. Congress.