Retired NYPD Cop Once Assigned to Secure City Hall Accused of Pipe Attack on Capitol Police – NBC New York
What to know
- Thomas Webster surrendered in the FBI’s Hudson Valley office Monday on charges filed in federal court in Washington, DC, in connection with the deadly January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol
- Webster, who lived in New York for 54 years and raised his three children with his wife other than his time with the Marines, has been honorably discharged and has had no previous arrests, his attorney said
- This recent development follows a host of arrests and charges against a number of three-state residents in connection with the violent events that occurred earlier last month
A retired NYPD officer who had served as a security guard for a while at City Hall and at the Gracie Mansion, the mayor’s official residence, was charged with assaulting a U.S. Capitol officer with a whistle during the January 6 siege Officials aware of the case posted News 4 Tuesday.
Thomas Webster surrendered to the FBI’s Hudson Valley office on Monday for an ongoing investigation. A day later, prosecutors in federal court in White Plains said the former U.S. Marine attacked a Capitol police officer with an aluminum pole while holding a Marine Corps flag. Webster then allegedly tore off a mask and suffocated the officer, prosecutors said.
US assistant attorney Benjamin Gianforti said video footage at the January 6 events showed Webster “clear as a day” attacking an officer. Prosecutors described an angry look at Webster, captured on video, reflecting a man who was about to instigate violence. And they accused him of doing just that.
“These videos shock the conscience,” said the prosecutor, claiming that Webster “follows this cop like a junkyard dog – teeth clenched and fists clenched.”
The former NYPD officer who once guarded City Hall and the Gracie Mansion allegedly attacked a Capitol police officer with a metal pole. The other man, a GOP activist from Queens, allegedly climbed through a broken window in the Capitol with a megaphone in hand. Jonathan Dienst from NBC New York reports.
According to a criminal complaint, Webster was seen in body camera footage carrying a large metal flagpole with a red flag of the US Marines. It is alleged that Webster cursed a Capitol police officer with a curse of shame when he “aggressively” slid a metal barricade into the officer and armed himself with the metal bar.
The alleged rioter then brings the flagpole over his head and swings it down, hitting the metal barrier right in front of the officer, the complaint said. Webster then attempted to attack the policeman by throwing himself at him with the flagpole and hitting the policeman several times, according to the criminal complaint.
The policeman is finally able to push the bar away from Webster and begins to retreat further behind the barricades. But that doesn’t stop the attack, the newspapers claim, as Webster breaks through the barriers and goes straight for the officer with “clenched fists”. He pounces on the police officer again and grabs him on the ground, where Webster allegedly assaults him for 10 seconds, the complaint said.
Various angles on social media reportedly show Webster holding the officer to the ground and sitting on him while trying to forcibly remove the face shield and gas mask. The officer later said the helmet stopped because of the chin strap, which criminal charges reported began to choke him during part of the alleged attack.
Webster Webster, 54, is later featured in a video posted on YouTube on a staircase leading to the Capitol. The complaint reads into the camera: “Send more patriots. We need help.”
Gianforti said the videos also “show an expression of sheer anger on the defendant’s face”.
“His teeth are clenched. This is a man who is about to instigate some type of violence against someone and, in fact, he did so against this poor police officer, ”the prosecutor said.
Webster was wearing a bulletproof vest at the time, meaning he was prepared for physical conflict, prosecutors added. The 20-year-old NYPD veteran brought a gun to Washington, DC on siege day, prosecutors say. Webster claimed he left it at the hotel, but he wore bulky clothing in the footage shared by the FBI. Regardless, it is against the law to carry even one gun in Washington, DC
“We believe he had a gun in the Capitol and thank God he didn’t fire a shot at the time,” said prosecutors.
Defense attorney James Monroe said Webster went to the U.S. Capitol that January day to participate in a protest but was not part of any group or organization. Monroe said his client was hit by the Capitol officer before returning the favor. In his decades-long NYPD career, he never fired a shot.
Monroe said Webster, who was honorably discharged from the U.S. Marines and spent the rest of his 50+ years raising his three children with his wife in New York, went to DC that January day to fight one at the behest of the former Event to protest President of the United States. He has no previous arrests.
The FBI released a picture as part of its ongoing investigation into the violence last month that was later identified as Webster by law enforcement officers. When Webster learned his picture had been shared on social media, he went to Monroe, who told him the best way to surrender in good faith was to do so.
Webster handed over the guns he owns along with his pistol permit and passport, Monroe said. Webster doesn’t deny that he was the man in the red jacket featured in videos and pictures circulated by the FBI, Monroe said. But he said his client had no history of political activism.
Webster “poses no threat to the community. He has done an excellent job as a husband and father,” said Monroe. The attorney offered to agree to the surveillance and travel restrictions under a contract to keep Webster out of jail until the trial. Monroe requested Webster’s release on an unsecured loan. He said his client intends not to plead guilty.
A judge agreed that Webster posed no aviation risk but ordered him to be held without bail because of the potential threat he could pose to the community. The US judge Andrew E. Krause said it had emerged from body cam recordings that Webster ran up to the officer shortly before the attack began. He said he saw no evidence that Webster was beaten.
Krause praised the right to freedom of expression, but said: “What we see in this video … goes far beyond the speech in the First Amendment and turns into criminal activity.”
Gianforti said federal sentencing guidelines would recommend a minimum of five years’ imprisonment if Webster chose not to go to court and pleaded guilty to charges. If convicted in court, the recommended prison term would be much higher, he said.
The Police Benevolence Association condemned Webster’s actions and said in a tweet that the riot was a “disgusting attack” on the Capitol Police, the US government and what “NYC cops stand for”. Worse still, the suspect once wore our uniform. Justice must be quick and strict. “
FBI agents searched two residents in New York City on Thursday over the Capitol riot.
Webster’s arrest is the latest in a series of charges against growing numbers of residents in three states in connection with the events early last month when a crowd of former supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol.
Nearly two months after the siege, the FBI continues to make arrests across the country. Since the violent uprising, a number of residents from three states have been arrested and charged with various crimes related to the fatal event, including a New York plumbing worker, the brother of a retired NYPD official, an MTA worker and an Upper West side community leader .
The U.S. Capitol Police Captain Carneysha Mendoza gave a firsthand report on the deadly uprising on January 6, as she testified to two Senate committees on Tuesday. “With the multitude of events I’ve worked on in my nearly 19-year career in the department, this has been by far the worst of the worst,” said Mendoza.
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