Ex-NY cop convicted of assaulting officer during Capitol riot

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Ex-NY cop convicted of assaulting officer during Capitol riot

Thomas Webster, a retired New York City policeman, was convicted of assaulting an officer on Monday when a federal jury rejected his defense that he acted in self-defense while participating in the January 6, 2021 riot at the US Capitol, reported DW, quoting news agencies AP and Reuters.

The 56-year-old was both the first to be charged with assault over the riots as well as the first to try and claim self-defense

What were the details of the charge?

Webster, who was a NYPD officer for 20 years, had been indicted on six counts, including a charge that he assaulted Metropolitan Police Department officer Noah Rathbun with a dangerous weapon, in this case a metal flagpole.

He claimed that Rathbun instigated the confrontation. He called Rathbun a "rogue cop" who tried to punch him in the face.

Rathbun testified that he didn't punch or pick a fight with Webster.

On January 6, a violent mob attacked the Capitol , disrupting Congress from certifying President Joe Biden's 2020 election victory over then-President Donald Trump.

The federal jury convicted Webster on all six counts.

'There was no self-defense'

Two jurors who spoke to reporters after the verdict said videos capturing the officer's assault from multiple angles were crucial evidence rebutting Webster's self-defense argument.

"I guess we were all surprised that he would even make that defense argument," said a juror who spoke on condition of anonymity. "There was no dissention among us at all. We unanimously agreed that there was no self-defense argument here.''

Although prosecutors asking for Webster to be detained, the judge ruled that he wil remain free until his sentencing because he has complied with current conditions of release and doesn't have any prior convictions.

Webster drove from his home in New York to Washington DC on the eve of January 6, attending former President Trump's the "Stop the Steal" rally the next day and then moving with the crowd as it marched towards the Capitol.

Rathbun's body camera captured Webster shouting profanities at the officer before slamming a bike rack at the police. Rathbun then hit Webster, pushing him back into the crowd that was surging around the police barricade. Webster then swung a metal flag pole at the officer in a downward chopping motion, striking a bike rack. Rathbun grabbed the broken pole from Webster, who charged at the officer, tackled him to the ground and grabbed his gas mask.

More than 780 people have been charged with riot-related federal crimes. The Justice Department says more than 245 of them have been charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement. More than 100 officers were injured in the riot.

Ex-NY cop convicted of assaulting officer during Capitol riot

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