- A Capitol Police officer invited a January 6 rioter to his home and offered him a legal tour of the Capitol.
- The officer also tried to help the unnamed rioter avoid law enforcement by telling him to delete online photos.
- Officer Michael Angelo Riley has been indicted on two felony counts of obstruction.
A Capitol Police officer accused of helping a January 6 rioter invited the man to stay at his home and get a tour of the Capitol building on his next trip to Washington DC, messages obtained by prosecutors show.
Michael Angelo Riley, the officer, who worked with the K-9 unit and has been in the force for almost 25 years, was indicted on Friday on two counts of obstruction. Federal prosecutors say he told a rioter he agreed with his “political stance” and told him to remove online photos to avoid being pursued by the FBI.
Riley has since been placed on leave until the case is completed, the Capitol Police Department told Insider.
In the days after the insurrection, Riley exchanged messages with the accused rioter about fishing and invited the man to stay at his home.
“Next time you want to come to DC just call me, you can stay at my house on the shore for free and bring your daughter to museums,” he wrote, according to a message included in the indictment.
“If you want to see the Capitol building, let’s do it legally next time… I know a guy who can get you a tour… lol. It’s behind you now,” he continued. “Lesson learned! Just ask your attorney what’s next.”
According to the indictment, Riley and the accused rioter became Facebook friends on January 1. The two were both avid fishermen and members of fishing-related Facebook pages, prosecutors said.
After the accused rioter participated in the insurrection – where a mob in support of then-President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol building to try to stop Congress from certifying the 2020 presidential election results – he posted selfies of himself at the Capitol, prosecutors said.
In the following days, Riley and the accused rioter continued to exchange messages and speak on the phone. Riley told the accused rioter of the FBI’s strategy to pursue people who attended the January 6 insurrection and offered legal advice, the messages obtained by prosecutors show.
The FBI arrested the accused rioter on January 19, and he told Riley about it on January 20, prosecutors wrote. After that, their relationship soured, messages show. A mutual friend sent Riley a video of the accused rioter at the Capitol building, smoking, prosecutors said.
“I tried to defend you but then he showed me a video of you in the Capitol smoking weed and acting like a moron,” Riley wrote in a message to him. “I was shocked and dumbfounded, since your story of getting pushed in the building with no other choice now seems not only false but is a complete lie. I feel like a moron for believing you.”
But Riley had been sent the video showing the accused rioter smoking before, prosecutors said in the indictment. According to the messages they obtained, a mutual friend even sent a screenshot on January 9 showing him smoking at the Capitol building.
“Yep, I know,” Riley wrote in response.