U.S. News

Ex-NYPD officer found guilty of attacking D.C. cop with flag pole on Jan. 6

Ryan J. Reilly and Gary Grumbach
This still frame from Metropolitan Police Department body worn camera video shows Thomas Webster, in red jacket, at a barricade line at on the west front of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington.
Metropolitan Police Department via AP

WASHINGTON — A jury on Monday convicted a former New York City police officer for assaulting a D.C. police officer during the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Thomas Webster, a 56-year-old retired NYPD officer was found guilty of all six counts of assault and civil disorder. The jury began deliberating late on Friday evening and returned a verdict by Monday morning.

Webster tried to convince the jury that a D.C. police officer instigated a fight. His attorney said Webster showed "restraint," and Webster testified that he grabbed the officer's gas mask so that the officer could "see my hands." The D.C. officer testified that he struggled to breathe when Webster tackled him and ripped off his gas mask.

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Justice Department prosecutors told jurors they should use common sense.

"Do you believe the defendant's version of what happened that day?" Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian P. Kelly asked during closing arguments on Friday.

"This case is about Thomas Webster's rage," Kelly said. Webster said that the D.C. officer instigated the attack "because he needs it to be true," Kelly said.

Webster is the fourth Jan. 6 defendant to face a jury trial and the first to be tried on assault charges. Dustin ThompsonThomas Robertson and Guy Reffitt were all previously found guilty on all counts.

Nearly 800 defendants have been charged in connection with the Jan. 6 attack, and more than 250 have pleaded guilty. The FBI has the identities of hundreds more Capitol rioters who haven't yet been arrested, and the Biden administration is seeking millions in additional resources to prosecute cases going forward.