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U.S. Capitol Police officer charged with telling rioter to destroy evidence By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump climb on walls at the U.S. Capitol during a protest against the certification of the 2020 U.S. presidential election results by the U.S. Congress, in Washington, U.S., January 6, 2021. REUTERS/Jim Urqu

By Mark Hosenball

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Federal prosecutors on Friday accused a U.S. Capitol Police officer of urging a participant in the Jan. 6 attack on the government building to destroy Facebook (NASDAQ:) posts showing him inside, warning that he could be prosecuted.

In a six-page indictment, prosecutors said that Michael Riley, a Capitol Police officer for more than 25 years, had become a Facebook friend with the suspect identified as “Person 1” on Jan. 1 and then direct messaged the individual on Jan. 7.

“Hey (Person 1), im a capitol police officer who agrees with your political stance,” Riley said in the message. “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.”

Hundreds of supporters of former Republican President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol building on Jan. 6 in a failed attempt to overturn his election defeat. Four people died in the violence, more than 100 police officers were injured and four officers in the crowd that day later died of suicide.

Prosecutors say Riley exchanged “dozens more” direct messages with the riot suspect on Jan. 7, including one in which he wrote his Facebook friend “Im glad you got out of there unscathed. We had over 50 officers hurt, some pretty bad.”

Riley could not be reached for immediate comment, he was due in court later on Friday.

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