His attorneys announced Friday that a Capitol police officer, accused of obstruction of justice in the investigation into the January 6 riots, has resigned from the force.
The officer, a 25-year-old veteran named Michael Angelo Reilly, was placed on administrative leave earlier this month after he was arrested for allegedly encouraging a pro-Trump rioter who stormed the Capitol to delete posts condemning Facebook.
Riley has pleaded not guilty to the obstruction charges.
“As with many of his colleagues, Officer Riley engaged in heroic acts on January 6, 2021, in response to the attack on the U.S. Capitol,” a statement issued by his legal team at the law firms Silverman, Thompson, Slotkin and White. “With regard to the charges against him, the evidence will show that it is not a felony for one person to suggest to another person to delete false posts on Facebook,” he added.
A Capitol Police spokesperson declined to comment on the resignation, which was first reported Politico. “As is the norm in most departments, the USCP cannot discuss potential personnel issues,” the spokesperson said.
Riley, who was part of the K-9 unit, was not on the Capitol during the attack because he was responding to a report of an explosive device nearby, according to the indictment.
Court papers say he first came into contact with the alleged rioters on January 7. The two did not know each other personally but became friends on Facebook due to a common interest in hunting.
“[I’]A D.C. police officer who agrees with your political stance, Riley wrote to the man in a Facebook direct message, according to the indictment. “Properly remove the part about being in the building they are investigating and whoever was in the building will be charged. Just look!”
The indictment said the two exchanged dozens of other direct messages on Facebook, with Riley offering at one point to allow the man, identified in court filings as Person 1, to stay at his home the next time he comes to Washington, D.C.
“If you want to see the Capitol, let’s do it legally next time,” Riley wrote in one message. “I know a guy who can take you for a ride…lol.”