A former officer with the New York Police Department, whose duties once included guarding City Hall and the mayor’s residence, has been charged in what prosecutors describe as a rabid attack on a Capitol officer during the Jan. 6 insurrection.
Thomas Webster, a 54-year-old man who spent 20 years with the NYPD before retiring, is now facing charges of assaulting an officer with a deadly weapon after he was seen on video going after a cop at the Capitol “like a junkyard dog—teeth clenched and fists clenched,” NBC New York reports federal prosecutors told a judge earlier this week.
The case makes Republican Sen. Ron Johnson’s suggestion at Tuesday’s Senate hearing on the Capitol attack, that “the majority of Trump supporters are pro-law enforcement and the last thing they would do is violate the law,” even more laughable and disgustingly disingenuous.
Webster also previously served with the Marine Corps before being honorably discharged and going on to work in law enforcement. Prosecutors say he wore a bulletproof vest to the Jan. 6 insurrection and had a gun in his possession. Among other things, he is accused of beating a police officer at the Capitol with a metal flag pole.
From NBC New York:
Webster was seen in body camera footage carrying a large metal flagpole with a red U.S. Marines flag attached to it, according to a criminal complaint. It alleges that Webster berated a Capitol police officer with a curse-laden diatribe, as he “aggressively” shoved a metal barricade into the officer and armed himself with the metal rod.
The alleged rioter then brings the flagpole above his head and swings it downward, striking the metal barrier right in front of the officer, the complaint reads. Webster then attempted to attack the officer by lunging toward him with the flagpole, striking the cop several times, according to the criminal complaint.
The cop is eventually able to wrestle the pole away from Webster, and begins retreating further behind the barricades. But that doesn’t stop the attack, the papers allege, as Webster breaks through the barriers and charges right at the officer with “clenched fists.” He lunges again at the law enforcement officer and tackles him to the ground, where Webster allegedly attacks him for 10 seconds, the complaint reads.
Different angles on social media allegedly show Webster pinning the officer to the ground and straddling him while he tries to forcefully remove the face shield and gas mask. The officer later said that the helmet stayed on due to the chin strap, which began to choke him during part of the alleged assault, according to the criminal complaint.
Webster is now in FBI custody after surrendering to investigators on Monday. Lawyers for the accused requested that he be released on bail, arguing that he went to the Capitol to protest at the urging of Donald Trump and was hit by a Capitol officer before retaliating.
Coincidentally, Sen. Johnson on Tuesday also promoted the idea that law enforcement on Jan. 6 caused Trump supporters to behave violently because they used tear gas on the MAGA mob who broke through their barricades at the Capitol.
“There was an air of disbelief as people realized that the police whom they supported were firing on them,” Johnson read from an unverified account of the events that was published in the Federalist, a conservative outlet.
What a way to show support.
Luckily, a federal judge agreed with prosecutors that Webster poses a danger to the community and ordered him held without bail, adding that there was no evidence Webster was hit by an officer before he went on the attack. He faces at least five years in prison.