AP

Ex-Capitol cop who messaged 1/6 rioter guilty of obstruction

Oct 28, 2022, 1:08 PM | Updated: 1:55 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — A former U.S. Capitol Police officer was convicted Friday of obstruction of justice for deleting Facebook messages he exchanged with a man who participated in the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection.

Jurors were unable to reach a verdict on a second count of obstruction against Michael A. Riley, 51, that stemmed from Riley warning the rioter to remove part of a Facebook post showing the person inside the Capitol during the riot.

Riley was arrested last year on accusations that he helped hide the rioter’s involvement in the attack that left many of his own colleagues brutally beaten by the pro-Trump mob. He’s the only Capitol police officer charged with a crime involving the insurrection.

An email seeking comment was sent Friday to an attorney for Riley, who responded to a report of a pipe bomb on Jan. 6 and had been a Capitol Police officer for about 25 years before his arrest. Obstruction of justice carries a possible sentence of up to 20 years behind bars.

The day after the riot, Riley sent the person a Facebook message, identifying himself as a “capitol police officer who agrees with your political stance.”

“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!” Riley wrote, according to court documents.

Riley and the rioter exchanged numerous messages over several days after the Jan. 6 attack. At one point, Riley told the rioter that the scene was a “total s—show.” “I’m glad you got out of there unscathed. We had over 50 officers hurt, some pretty bad,” the officer wrote, according to the complaint.

When the rioter said through messaging that he didn’t think he’d done anything wrong, Riley responded: “The only thing I can see is if you went into the building and they have proof you will be charged. You could always articulate that you had nowhere to go, but that’s for court.”

After the rioter was arrested, the rioter told Riley that the FBI was “very curious” that the two had been communicating. Riley then deleted all of his Facebook messages with the rioter, according to court papers.

Riley took the stand in his defense and told jurors that he was misled about the man’s involvement in the riot and believed the rioter when he posted on Facebook that he had been pushed into the Capitol by the mob, NBC News reported.

“I was embarrassed, because I had reached out to him in the first place and allowed myself to get in a position like this,” Riley told jurors, according to NBC. “I never intended for any of this to happen.”

Riley testified that he was upset about what happened on Jan. 6, noting that Capitol police had “a lot of officers who were hurt.” He insisted that messages were not an attempt to help the man avoid charges and that he deleted his messages with the rioter because he was mad, not because he was trying to cover his tracks, NBC reported.

About 900 people have been charged in the riot, which left dozens of police officers bloodied and bruised as the crowd charged into the Capitol. Roughly 300 Capitol riot defendants have been sentenced, with sentences ranging from probation to 10 years behind bars.

___

For full coverage of the Capitol riot, go to https://www.apnews.com/capitol-siege

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

The U.S. Supreme Court is seen, Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024, in Washington. The U.S. Supreme Court has h...

Associated Press

Supreme Court decision on Trump’s election status could come Monday morning

A SCOTUS decision could come Monday in the case about whether Trump can be kicked off the ballot over his efforts to undo his 2020 defeat.

1 day ago

Republican presidential candidate former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley poses for a selfie after speakin...

Associated Press

Nikki Haley wins D.C. Republican primary, her first 2024 victory

Nikki Haley has won the Republican primary in the District of Columbia, notching her first victory of the 2024 campaign.

1 day ago

An Apache group that has fought to protect land it considers sacred from a copper mining project in...

Associated Press

A US appeals court ruling could allow mine development in central Arizona on land sacred to Apaches

An Apache group that has fought to protect land from a copper mining project in central Arizona suffered a significant blow.

1 day ago

On Friday, March 1, 2024, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said yogurt sold in the U.S. can ma...

Associated Press

Eating yogurt may reduce risk of type 2 diabetes, FDA says

Eating at least two cups of yogurt a week might reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said.

1 day ago

Arizona will not approve new housing construction on the fast-growing edges of metro Phoenix that r...

Associated Press

Arizona Senate passes plan to manage rural groundwater, but final success is uncertain

A plan to manage rural groundwater passed the Arizona Senate amid concerns about the availability of sufficient water for future generations.

3 days ago

A woman pauses while shopping at a Kohl's store in Clifton, N.J., Jan. 26, 2024. On Thursday, Feb. ...

Associated Press

Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation gauge picked up last month in sign of still-elevated prices

An inflation gauge favored by the Federal Reserve increased in January, the latest sign that the slowdown in U.S. consumer price increases is occurring unevenly from month to month.

4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Valley residents should be mindful of plumbing ahead of holidays

With Halloween in the rear-view and more holidays coming up, Day & Night recommends that Valley residents prepare accordingly.

...

Sanderson Ford

The best ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day and give back to the community

Veterans Day is fast approaching and there's no better way to support our veterans than to donate to the Military Assistance Mission.

Ex-Capitol cop who messaged 1/6 rioter guilty of obstruction