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Retired NYPD cop charged in Capitol riot, accused of attacking officer with flag pole

NBC News logo NBC News 2/23/2021 Jonathan Dienst and Doha Madani
a person posing for the camera © Provided by NBC News

A retired New York police officer is facing charges for participating in the Capitol riot last month, where he allegedly attacked a Capitol officer.

Thomas Webster appeared in court Tuesday, where federal prosecutors alleged that he wore a bulletproof vest and was prepared for “armed conflict” during the Jan. 6 attack on the federal building. Prosecutors alleged that Webster attacked a Capitol police officer using a flag pole that was flying a Marine Corps flag and also pulled down the officer’s mask, causing him to choke.

a person posing for the camera: Thomas Webster. (FBI) © FBI Thomas Webster. (FBI)

Webster allegedly called the officer a “commie motherf-----” and went after him like a “junkyard dog,” prosecutors argued in court Tuesday.

He is facing charges of assaulting, resisting or impeding officers with a deadly weapon, obstruction of law enforcement, knowingly entering a restricted building or grounds without lawful authority with a weapon, disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restrictive building or grounds with a weapon, engaging in physical violence in a restrictive building or grounds, and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.

FBI investigators viewed Webster on both body camera footage and "open source media" from Twitter, according to a charging document. Open source images appear to show Webster pinning the officer to the ground while straddling him and trying to forcibly remove the Capitol officer's face shield and gas mask, the document said.

James Monroe, Webster’s attorney, did not deny that his client was seen in video evidence found by investigators. Webster went to the Capitol to protest and went at the urging of former President Donald Trump, Monroe argued.

Monroe asked the judge to release Webster on bond, citing his family ties and lack of criminal history. Webster was honorably discharged from the Marines and spent 20 years with the New York Police Department, his attorney argued.

During his time as a police officer, Webster did security for City Hall and the New York City mayor's official residence Gracie mansion, according to law enforcement officials with direct knowledge of the investigation. He retired from the force 2011, the NYPD confirmed to NBC News on Tuesday.

Webster surrendered himself to the FBI’s Hudson Valley office on Monday, according to NBC New York. He also turned over his firearms, pistol permit and passport to authorities.

Webster is among more than 200 people who have been charged in the Capitol riot, some of whom have been identified as military veterans.


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