American News Oct 15, 2021 3:28 PM EST

Capitol Police officer charged with obstruction of justice for telling Facebook friend to delete Jan 6 posts

"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."

Capitol Police officer charged with obstruction of justice for telling Facebook friend to delete Jan 6 posts
Nick Monroe Cleveland, Ohio

The latest Capitol riot indictment comes from someone who was an officer for the Capitol Police. While not in the building itself that day, this officer was in the area and responded to a report about a potential pipe bomb.

The Associated Press named Capitol Police officer Michael A. Riley as the one facing two counts of obstruction of justice charges.

The maximum sentence for each of these is a 20-year max. The 50-year-old had 25 years on the police force and was a part of their K-9 unit, before this alleged tip-off situation happened at the beginning of this year.

It's alleged in the indictment against Riley that he told an unidentified person ("Person 1") that he agreed "with [their] political stance."

The indictment says the two became Facebook friends on Jan. 1 of this year, over an apparent mutual interest in fishing. "Person 1 illegally entered the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021," the court document also says.

"The indictment spells out how Riley sent dozens of messages to the unidentified person, encouraging them to remove incriminating photos and videos and telling them how the FBI was investigating to identify rioters," says AP.

In this tweeted thread from NBC's Scott MacFarlane, the conversation is outlined between Riley and the Facebook friend in question.

"The only thing I can see is if you went in the building and they have proof you will be charged. You can always articulate that you had no where to go, but thats for court," Riley told the Facebook friend.

The documents say that Riley deleted his Facebook DM conversation with "Person 1" on Jan. 20, the day of President Joe Biden's inauguration.

(Read the six-page indictment document here.)

A recent whistleblower with inside knowledge to Capitol Police leadership on Jan. 6 alleged acting heads Sean Gallagher and Yogananda Pittman sat back and watched the chaos unfold that day.

The Associated Press themselves point out how their review of court records for Jan. 6 cases turned up instances of  "at least 49 defendants" being accused of trying to cover their tracks. In the recent case of #WalkAway founder Brandon Straka deletion of content was mentioned by authorities. Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg cooperated with the FBI in the aftermath of the Capitol riot, when it came to turning over posts from both that platform as well as Instagram.

Presiding Judge Michael Harvey scheduled Riley's arraignment for Oct. 26.

In September, the results of the Capitol Police's internal review of officer behavior on the day of Jan. 6 had 38 internal investigations being opened. But it narrowed down to six cases of reported wrongdoing with particular officers identified.

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