Ever since the Jan. 6 incursion into the U.S. Capitol, it has been difficult to discern truth from falsity in regard to the events that occurred that day. While much of that confusion has been due to dishonest coverage from the establishment media, one Capitol Police officer was indicted last week for his alleged efforts to muddy the waters.
According to The Associated Press, Michael A. Riley was charged with obstruction of justice for helping to hide evidence about one man’s participation in the events of Jan. 6. Riley was accused of messaging the participant and telling him to remove any Facebook posts proving his involvement in the Capitol incursion.
The indictment said Riley, 50, has served for a quarter of a century as a Capitol Police officer. It added he was not on the property at the Capitol building on Jan. 6 but responding to reports of a pipe bomb in a nearby area.
Riley did not know the person allegedly involved in the riot, referred to simply as “Person 1” in the indictment. He became Facebook friends with Person 1 on Jan. 1 after learning of him through “fishing-related Facebook groups.”
The indictment said Person 1 had posted pictures, video and commentary on Jan. 7 about his involvement in the previous day’s events. At that point, Riley reportedly reached out to Person 1.
“Hey [Person 1], im a capitol police officer who agrees with your political stance,” Riley said in his initial message according to the indictment. “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!”
There are differing opinions about whether those involved in the Capitol riot deserve strong punishment. With that said, those decisions are meant to be made through the justice system.
Instead, Riley attempted to hide evidence and protect someone from possible indictment because of his own political beliefs. Even for those who agree with those same political beliefs, it should be obvious that tampering with an investigation is not the right path to take.
Throughout the investigation, misinformation has been a massive problem. Many conservatives have felt the establishment media has unfairly demonized the actions of all participants in the Jan. 6 incursion, even though many of them did not engage in violent behavior.
By the same token, conservatives cannot hide information pertinent to the investigation that might go against their desired result. By doing so, those people weaken their own argument regarding the importance of truth.
Regardless of political party or leaning, every American should want truth and justice to prevail in the Jan. 6 investigation. In order for that to happen, all of the evidence needs to come to light instead of being hidden.
The indictment went on to say Riley exchanged “dozens” of messages with Person 1 on Jan. 7. Two days later, someone identified as “Person 2” contacted Riley and sent him a video of Person 1 smoking an unknown substance inside the Capitol building.
On Jan. 13, Person 1 told Riley he had been identified on social media as a participant in the Jan. 6 incursion. Riley then informed him to “[g]et off of social media.”
In another message on Jan. 21, Riley chastised Person 1 for his behavior in the video sent by Person 2.
“Hey [Person 1], another mutual friend was talking about you last night,” Riley said according to the indictment. “I tried to defend you but then he showed me a video of you in the Capitol smoking weed and acting like a moron.
“I have to say, i was shocked and dumbfounded, since your story of getting pushed in the building with no other choice seems not only false but is a complete lie. I feel like a moron for believing you…”
If Person 1 did lie to Riley, that is yet another reason that Riley’s actions to try to hide his involvement in the incursion were unacceptable. Since Riley is not an investigator or a judge, it is not his job to decide who is and is not charged.
According to a news release from the U.S. Department of Justice, Riley made his initial court appearance on Friday following his arrest. He was released on personal recognizance after his indictment, and his next court date is set for Oct. 26.
CORRECTION, Oct. 20, 2021: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated the number of years Michael Riley has served as a Capitol Police officer. We apologize to our readers for the error, and for any confusion we may have caused.
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