Former New York City officer Thomas Webster was found guilty of six counts.
A jury on Monday found former New York police officer Thomas Webster guilty of six counts, including assaulting a police officer, in the first federal assault case stemming from the attack on the 6 January against the US Capitol.
Webster’s trial marks the fourth time a jury has heard the case of a Jan. 6 defendant, with all four cases resulting in convictions on all charges.
Webster was convicted of assaulting DC Metro police officer Noah Rathbun, who testified at trial — as was Webster himself, who often addressed the jury directly and called Rathbun a “rogue cop.” “.
According to testimony and video of the riot, Webster pushed through a crowd toward bike racks that served as a police perimeter. Wearing a body armor and waving a Marine Corps flag, he walked past the crowd, shouting “commie mother ——-” to the officers, before focusing on Rathbun and shouting. “take your s— off!”
“That’s what people say when they want to fight,” Rathbun said during his three-hour testimony. “It’s very common.”
Webster swung a metal flagpole in a downward motion twice before smashing the bike racks. As Rathbun backed away, Webster ran towards him and tackled him, then pulled on his gas mask. Rathbun began to choke on his chin strap as Webster tugged on the mask, Rathbun testified.
The video shows Rathbun punching Webster in the face trying to push him away, which became a cornerstone of Webster’s defense. Webster, who claimed Rathbun provoked the fight, said he pulled Rathbun’s mask as a form of self-defense.
“I felt like I was the cop and he was the protester,” Webster said on the stand.
US attorneys said Webster clearly should have known he was not allowed on Capitol grounds, pointing to snow fences, bike racks that formed a police barrier and riot gear subway police, flash bangs and tear gas. He should have known it too, they said, in his 20 years as a police officer in New York.
“Both Thomas Webster and Officer Rathbun took an oath to protect the country. But only one of them actually fulfilled that oath on January 6 at the United States Capitol,” a US attorney said. “And that was Officer Rathbun.”
The defense said it wanted the jury to see “the whole truth”.
“When are acts of police misconduct acceptable?” said defense attorney James Monroe. Referring to the flagpole, Monroe said, “Sometimes a flagpole is all it is. That’s all it was.”
Webster was convicted of assaulting, resisting, or interfering with an officer using a dangerous weapon; civil disorder; enter and remain in restricted area with a dangerous weapon; engaging in physical violence in confined spaces with a dangerous weapon; and engaging in an act of physical violence on Capitol grounds.
Sentencing is set for September 2. Judge Amit Mehta ruled that Webster need not be detained pending sentencing.