A long-time member of the U.S. Capitol Police force was charged Friday with obstruction of justice for allegedly contacting a Facebook user warning them to take down posts admitting their participation in the Jan. 6 riots.
Michael Angelo Riley, a 25-year veteran of the force, initiated contact with the unnamed Facebook user—someone he didn’t know but was in multiple fishing-related Facebook groups with and had recently added as a “friend” —the day after the riot, according to a court document filed Friday.
The court filing alleges Riley direct messaged this person warning them to take down “selfie”-style photographs, videos and other commentary he had posted to Facebook “admitting his presence and conduct inside the U.S. Capitol” on January 6.
Riley identified himself as a Capitol Police officer “who agrees with your political stance,” and went on to advise the person to “take down the part about being in the building” as “they are currently investigating,” the filing claims.
“Everyone who was in the building is going to be charged,” Riley allegedly warned the Facebook user, adding that he was: “Just looking out!”
The officer allegedly continued to message the Facebook user until January 20, when he informed Riley he had turned himself into the FBI, and that the agency was “very curious I had been speaking to you” and had taken his phone and “downloaded everything.”
That same day, Riley deleted all his Facebook direct messages to and from the person, according to the court filing.
Riley now faces two counts of obstruction and is expected to appear in court Friday afternoon.
The U.S. Capitol Police in a statement to Forbes labeled the allegations against Riley as “very serious” and said the officer has been placed on administrative leave. “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,” said Chief Tom Manger. “The USCP’s Office of Professional Responsibility will then open an administrative investigation.”
Riley is far from the only law enforcement officer (both active and retired) charged in connection to Jan. 6, but he is the first member of the Capitol Police, an agency that is still reeling from the violence of that day.