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Hudson Valley Man Accused Of Assault Officer During Capitol Riot

Patch logo Patch 2/24/2021 Michael Woyton
Thomas Webster of Florida, Orange County, was accused of assaulting a police officer with a flagpole during the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. © FBI website Thomas Webster of Florida, Orange County, was accused of assaulting a police officer with a flagpole during the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

FLORIDA, NY — A retired New York Police Department officer and an Orange County resident was accused in federal court of assaulting a Metropolitan Police Department officer with a flagpole during the Capitol Hill riot Jan. 6.

Thomas Webster, 54, of Florida, appeared Tuesday in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York and was charged with assaulting a police officer. Additionally, he was charged with obstructing law enforcement, unlawful and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.

Prosecutors said the former Marine was involved in the riots at the U.S. Capitol Jan. 6 that disrupted a Joint Session of Congress that was in the process of affirming the results of the 2020 presidential election.

Webster appeared in federal court in White Plains Tuesday, after turning himself in Monday. He was detained for a future appearance March 3.

According to the affidavit, body camera footage shows Webster's assault on a District of Columbia police officer who was helping the U.S. Capitol police secure the exterior plaza of the Capitol Jan. 6.

Prosecutors said the video shows Webster wearing a red, black and white snow jacket, blue jeans and brown work boots as he approached a police officer, who is barricaded behind a metal gate.

Webster was carrying a large metal flagpole with a U.S. Marine Corps flag attached to it. Authorities said he waved his finger at the officer and shouted expletives at the officer.

Then he aggressively shoved the metal gate into the officer's body and armed himself with the metal flagpole, prosecutors said.

Webster then raised the flagpole above his head and swung it forcefully downward, hitting the barricade directly in front of the officer, police said, attempting to attack the officer by lunging at him.

Authorities said Webster struck the officer with the flagpole numerous times, after which he broke through the barricade and charged the officer, ultimately tackling him to the ground.

Additional footage posted to a Twitter account showed the assault, authorities said, with Webster pinning the officer to the ground. He straddled him and tried to remove the officer's face shield and gas mask, police said.

The officer said he could not breathe during the assault because he was being choked by his chinstrap, the affidavit said.

A YouTube video showed Webster on the staircase leading to the Upper West Terrace of the Capitol building, prosecutors said, with him saying to the camera, "Send more patriots. We need some help."

The FBI is looking for individuals who may have incited or promoted violence of any kind. Anyone with digital material or tips can call 1-800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324) or submit images or videos at www.fbi.gov/wanted/capitol-violence.

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