A federal judge sentenced Michael Riley, who has since retired from Capitol Police after more than 25 years on the force, to 120 days home detention and two years probation.
The sentence dealt to Riley, who must also pay a $10,000 fine, is considerably less than the 27 months in prison sought by prosecutors, according to The Washington Post. Still, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson said Riley displayed “shocking conduct” for a law enforcement officer, “particularly one who was a member of the U.S. Capitol Police, and one who served on the day of the attack on the Capitol, the building you spent 25 years protecting.”
Riley was the first responding officer on January 6, 2021, upon the discovery of a pair of pipe bombs outside the Republican National Committee’s and Democratic National Committee’s offices in Washington, D.C., per his lawyers. Riley then provided assistance to an injured officer on Capitol Hill during the Capitol riot later that day.
More than two years later just who planted the pipe bombs, which federal officials said were viable but did not detonate, remains a mystery. Authorities have released security footage of a masked suspect wearing a hoodie and this January they increased the reward for information leading to an arrest up to $500,000.
Following the U.S. Capitol breach, Riley traded Facebook messages with a man named Jacob Hiles, advising Hiles to remove posts about being inside the U.S. Capitol on January 6 due to ongoing investigations, noting that he was “looking out” for someone who agreed with his political views.
Although the jury did not reach a verdict on an obstruction count related to that exchange, Riley got penalized for deleting private messages after Hiles shared that he told the FBI that he was in contact with a Capitol Police officer and trying to create a cover story, according to the Justice Department.
“The regret, the remorse I have over this situation is unmatchable. I reached out to someone I never should have contacted. For this, I accept full responsibility,” Riley told the judge.
Roughly 27 months after the chaos on January 6, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia says more than 1,020 arrests have been made in connection to January 6, the day a crowd of people entered the U.S. Capitol and disrupted lawmakers who were meeting to certify Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory. Some 533 defendants have pleaded guilty, including four to a federal charge of seditious conspiracy.