Capitol Police Officer Resigns After Being Charged With Trying To Help Jan. 6 Rioter

Forbes has learned that a long-serving officer of the U.S. Capitol Police was charged with obstruction for allegedly telling a Jan. 6 rioter on Facebook to remove incriminating posts. Forbes lawyers confirmed this to Forbes Friday.

WASHINGTON DC - January 06: A group of police officers dressed in riot gear walk towards the U.S. Capitol. This was on January 6, 2021, in Washington, DC. Trump supporters gathered today in Washington, DC to protest President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the Electoral College over President Trump in 2020. (Photo by Tasos Catopodis/Getty Images). Getty Images

The Key Facts

Michael Angelo Riley (26-year veteran of police) was earlier this month charged with two counts for obstruction of justice. He pleaded not guilty to the charges during his first court appearance. According to the indictment, he was accused of initiating contact with an unidentified Facebook user. He wasn't familiar with this person but was a member of several fishing-related Facebook groups and had just added him as a friend. According to the court filing, Riley advised the man to remove selfie-style photos, videos and comments he posted to Facebook announcing his presence at the U.S. Capitol during riots. Riley claimed to be a Capitol Police officer and told the man to take down selfie-style photos, videos and other comments he had posted to Facebook.

Important Quote

The evidence will prove that it is not a crime for someone to suggest that another person take down ill-conceived posts on Facebook, Forbes was told by the attorneys. They also stated that Riley performed acts of heroism in January 6.

Forbes reached out to the U.S. Capitol Police for comment, but they did not immediately respond. However, Riley's allegations were previously deemed very serious.

Important Background

Riley is not the only active or retired law enforcement officer to be charged in connection with Jan. 6. However, he is the first member the Capitol Police, which is still reeling from that day's violence. One of the officers who was killed in the riot, Brian Sicknick from the Capitol Police, was also lost. A few days later, Howard Liebengood (51-year-old Capitol Police officer) committed suicide. Two other officers from the District of Columbia's police department who responded to the riot also committed suicide. As law enforcement and legislators continue to investigate the attack, officers are still being treated for trauma and physical injuries.

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A long-time Capitol Police officer is charged with obstructing Jan. 6 investigation (Forbes).