A former New York City police officer has surrendered to the FBI and is facing multiple charges after being accused of attacking police officer with a metal flagpole during the U.S. Capitol assault on Jan. 6.
Thomas Webster, 54, has been charged with assaulting police officers with a deadly weapon, obstruction of law enforcement during civil disorder, knowingly entering a restricted area, disorderly conduct in a restricted area, engaging in physical violence in a restricted area and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, CNN reports.
According to the New York Times, Webster served on the unit that provided security for the city’s mayor before retiring in 2011.
Webster, a former Marine, appeared in court Monday, nbcnewyork.com reports. Prosecutors say Webster is seen in video attacking a Capitol police officer with a flagpole during the assault by supporters of Donald Trump who were trying to disrupt Congress’ confirmation of the results of the presidential election.
NBC News reports that prosecutors say Webster is accused of calling the officer a “commie motherf—–” who went after him like a “junkyard dog.” A charging document says images show Webster appearing to pin the officer to the ground and trying to forcibly remove his gas mask and face shield.
Webster is accused of hitting the officer several times with the flagpole, which had a Marine Corps flag attached. A lawyer for Webster says his client was acting in self-defense after the unidentified officer punched him, the Times reports.
“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,” said the lawyer, James Monroe, according to the Times. “That’s protecting the Constitution.”
Prosecutors say there is no evidence on video that Webster was punched by the officer, CNN reports. A judge has ordered that Webster be detained as he awaits trial.
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