Federal court indicts Capitol Police officer on obstruction charges related to Jan. 6 riot

Federal authorities are continuing to pursue charges related to the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. Last week, prosecutors moved to indict yet another suspect, and his identity may leave some surprised.

The Washington Examiner reported that U.S. Capitol Police officer Michael Riley is facing obstruction of justice allegations stemming from comments he made on social media. Authorities took Riley into custody on Friday.

What did he do?

In one instance, the veteran law enforcement officer is said to have told an individual to delete footage he had posted to social media footage that showed him present during the Capitol riot.

Later, Riley allegedly instructed the person to take down all riot-related footage, and warned that a massive federal investigation was unfolding.

“I’m a capitol police officer who agrees with your political stance,” Riley is accused of writing. “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 consequences

The Examiner quoted U.S. Capitol Police Chief Thomas Manger as revealing that Riley would be relieved of his duties until his charges are adjudicated.

“Obstruction of Justice is a very serious allegation,” Manger said. “The department was notified about this investigation several weeks ago.”  

“On his arrest, the officer was placed on administrative leave pending the completion of the case,” Manger added. “The USCP’s Office of Professional Responsibility will then open an administrative investigation.”

The Examiner noted that dozens of Capitol Police officers were investigated following the events that transpired on Jan. 6, with at least six officers suspended without pay.

Contempt charges

Riley is not the only Washington D.C. law enforcement official facing accusations relating to Jan. 6, as Fox News reported last week that the warden of D.C.’s jail and the director of its Department of Corrections (DOC) were both found in contempt over their alleged mistreatment of a Jan. 6 suspect.

In his ruling, U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth also ordered U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland to conduct an “appropriate inquiry into potential civil rights violations of Jan. 6 defendants, as exemplified in this case.”

Lamberth was responding to complaints brought forth by Christopher Worrell, who broke his hand in May, and has since been denied medical treatment, despite a doctor’s recommendation that he receive surgery for his injuries.

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