A U.S. Capitol Police officer has been charged with obstruction of justice for his actions following the January 6 riot in Washington, D.C. Prosecutors said that Michael Riley, who was not on duty during the riots on January 6, contacted one of the participants on social media and advised them to delete all posts they had made from inside the U.S. Capitol Building.
"Hey [Person 1], im a capitol police officer who agrees with your political stance," Riley wrote in a private message on Facebook. "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!"
The two continued to exchange dozens of messages over the next few days. In one message, Riley suggested that Hiles could visit him in Washington D.C. and that he could give him a legal tour of the Capitol Building.
Hiles was arrested on January 19 and told Riley that the FBI knew about their conversations. In September, he pleaded guilty to a charge of illegally parading in the Capitol.
Riley then proceeded to delete all of the messages he had with Hiles the next day. On January 21, Riley received a video showing Hiles smoking marijuana inside the U.S. Capitol. He then sent Hiles another Facebook message saying he was angry and upset.
"I have to say i was shocked and dumfounded, since your story of getting pushed in the building with no other choice now seems not only false but a big lie. I feel like a moron for believing you," Riley wrote.
Riley was placed on administrative leave following the indictment.
"Obstruction of justice is a very serious allegation," Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger said. "The department was notified about this investigation several weeks ago. Upon his arrest, the officer was placed on administrative leave pending the completion of the case."