- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 23, 2021

A retired New York City police officer was charged Tuesday for allegedly using a flagpole to attack a member of the U.S. Capitol Police during the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol.

Thomas Webster, 54, is facing a slew of federal charges, including assaulting or impeding police officers with a deadly weapon and engaging in physical violence in a restrictive building or grounds.

Federal prosecutors alleged Mr. Webster wore a bulletproof vest and was prepared for “armed conflict” during the attack on the Capitol. They also say Mr. Webster beat the officer with a flagpole flying a Marine Corps flag and that he pulled down the officer’s mask, causing him to choke.

Mr. Webster is also accused of calling the officer a “commie motherf—,” prosecutors said. They also said he went after the officer “like a junkyard dog — teeth clenched and fists clenched.”

FBI investigators captured Mr. Webster on police body camera video and “open-source media” from Twitter, according to court documents. Those open-source images appear to show Mr. Webster pinning the officer to the ground and straddling him while trying to forcibly remove the officer’s gas mask and face shield, documents revealed. 

Prosecutors say he brought a gun to the Capitol, but Mr. Webster claimed he left it at the hotel.

“We believe he had a gun at the Capitol and thank God he didn’t fire a shot then,” prosecutors said. 

A federal judge ordered that Mr. Webster remain detained at a New York jail until his next court appearance on March 3.

During his detention hearing Tuesday, defense attorney James Monroe did not deny that his client was the man on the video founded by investigators. He said Mr. Webster went to the Capitol to protest at the urging of former President Trump, NBC New York reported. 

Mr. Webster spent 20 years with the New York Police Department where he worked security for City Hall and the mayor’s official residence, Gracie Mansion. He retired from the force in 2011. 

• Jeff Mordock can be reached at jmordock@washingtontimes.com.

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