Retired NYPD officer accused of beating D.C. officer with flagpole during riots
Thomas Webster is alleged to have injured a Metro police officer during the Jan. 6 insurrection
A retired New York City police officer is under fire after claims were made that he attacked a Washington, D.C., police officer with a flagpole during the Jan. 6 siege at the United States Capitol organized by a violent group of Trump supporters.
Wednesday, PEOPLE confirmed that federal prosecutors obtained a criminal complaint confirming that former U.S. Marine Thomas Webster was allegedly caught on a police body camera carrying a metal flagpole with a U.S. Marine Corps flag during the siege.
In the footage, it is said that he can be seen yelling, “You f—— piece of sh–. You f—— mother——-, man,” right before lunging towards a D.C. Metropolitan Police officer with the flagpole. The complaint then states that he repeatedly struck the cop multiple times with the metal pole.
Webster was also allegedly s seen in video tackling the officer to the ground where he continued the attack, punching him for approximately 10 seconds. A second video of the incident that surfaced on Twitter also allegedly shows Webster violently attempting to remove the face shield and gas mask from the officer’s face while he is pinned to the ground.
ARRESTED: Thomas Webster AKA #EyeGouger is a retired NYPD Cop accused of attacking Capitol Police with a pipe and gouging out their eyes. Webster’s attorney, James Monroe, declined to comment Tuesday. pic.twitter.com/cwnADdlaqn— Cleavon MD (@Cleavon_MD) February 23, 2021
The Associated Press reports that the former Marine is now facing six charges, including assaulting an officer with a dangerous weapon. Despite the video evidence, Webster’s lawyer, James Monroe, confirmed his client will plead not guilty to all charges.
“He went there as an American citizen to protest, an event that was urged on by our former president — to protest an issue that Tom felt very strongly about,” Monroe said Tuesday during a virtual hearing before a magistrate. “That’s protecting the Constitution.”
According to The New York Times, the lawyer argued that Webster merely acted in self-defense after the officer punched him. However, federal prosecutor Benjamin A. Gianforti noted that there was no evidence substantiating that the officer struck Webster prior to the attack, which Gianforti characterized as a “shock to the conscience.”
The 54-year-old who retired from the NYPD in 2011, turned himself in and on Tuesday was ordered to be held without bail.
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