Capitol Police officer indicted for obstruction after riot

National News

FILE: Rioters loyal to then-President Donald Trump outside of U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. Even as the first of the more than 500 federal Capitol riot defendants have begun to plead guilty, scores of suspects remain unidentified, reflecting the massive scale of the Justice Department’s investigation and the grueling work authorities still face to track everyone down. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

WASHINGTON (AP) — A U.S. Capitol Police officer has been indicted on obstruction of justice charges after prosecutors say he helped to hide evidence of a rioter’s involvement in the Jan. 6 insurrection.

The officer, Michael A. Riley, is accused of tipping off someone who participated in the riot by telling them to remove posts from Facebook that had showed the person inside the Capitol during the Jan. 6 attack, according to court documents.

He is due to appear in federal court in Washington later Friday.

Riley, who responded to a report of a pipe bomb on Jan. 6 and has been a Capitol Police officer for about 25 years, had sent the person a message telling them that he was an officer with the police force who “agrees with your political stance,” an indictment against him 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.

It wasn’t clear if he had an attorney who could comment on the charges against him. A call to the U.S. Capitol Police wasn’t immediately returned.

In the days after the attack, scores of rioters flaunted their participation in social media posts that bragged about their ability to get inside the Capitol. But then many started realizing it could be used as evidence and began deleting it.

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