A retired NYPD officer from the Hudson Valley has been found guilty by a federal jury of assaulting a law enforcement officer with a deadly or dangerous weapon during the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021.
Orange County resident Thomas Webster, 56, of the village of Florida, was found guilty in the District of Columbia on Monday, May 2, of five felonies and one misdemeanor for his actions during the Capitol breach.
Webster, a former US Marine who once served on the protective detail of former New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, claimed self-defense during the trial, saying the police had used excessive force.
He was the first defendant to stand trial on charges that included assaulting, resisting, or impeding officers using a deadly or dangerous weapon, a felony, said the US Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia.
According to the government’s evidence, on Jan. 6, at approximately 2:30 p.m., Webster was among rioters on the other side of metal barricades set up by law enforcement officers attempting to secure the Lower West Terrace area of the Capitol.
Webster – who was carrying a large metal flagpole with a red US Marine Corps flag – approached an officer (Noah Rathbun) from the Metropolitan Police Department who was behind the metal gates, the government evidence showed.
Webster pointed his finger at the officer and began swearing at him, telling him, among other things to “take your sh--- off,” an apparent invitation to the officer to take off his badge and fight, the office said.
Webster then aggressively shoved the metal gate into the officer’s body, according to the US Attorney's Office. He raised the flagpole and forcefully swung it toward the officer.
The officer managed to wrest the flagpole away. Webster, however, then broke through the metal barricade, tackled the officer to the ground, and tried to remove his helmet and gas mask, choking him. During this attack, the officer struggled to breathe, according to the government's evidence.
Webster faces more than 20 years in prison when he is sentenced on Friday, Sept. 2.
In the 15 months since Jan. 6, 2021, nearly 800 individuals have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including over 250 individuals charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement. The investigation remains ongoing.
Anyone with tips can call 1-800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324) or visit tips.fbi.gov.
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