September 27, 2022

WASHINGTON (AP) — A retired New York Police Division officer was sentenced to 10 years in jail on Thursday for attacking the U.S. Capitol and utilizing a metallic flag pole to assault one of many officers making an attempt to carry off a crowd of Donald Trump supporters.

Thomas Webster’s jail sentence is the longest to this point amongst roughly 250 individuals who have been punished for his or her conduct in the course of the January 6, 2021 riot. The earlier longest was shared by two different rioters, who’ve have been individually sentenced to seven years and three months. in jail.

Webster, a 20-year veteran of the NYPD, was the primary Capitol riot defendant to face trial for assault and the primary to current an argument in self-defense. A jury rejected Webster’s declare that he was defending himself when he tackled Metropolitan Police Division officer Noah Rathbun and grabbed his fuel masks outdoors the Capitol on January 6.

U.S. District Decide Amit Mehta sentenced Webster, 56, to 10 years in jail plus three years of probation, noting that with Rathbun “the opposite casualty was democracy.” He allowed Webster to report back to jail on a date to be decided as an alternative of instantly ordering him into custody.

One other photograph from the Metropolitan Police Division which exhibits Webster on January 6, 2021.

In a court docket submitting, prosecutors accused Webster of “dishonoring a democracy he as soon as honorably fought to guard and serve.” Webster led the cost in opposition to police barricades within the Capitol’s Decrease West Plaza, prosecutors mentioned. They likened the assault to a medieval battle, with rioters pelting officers with makeshift projectiles and interesting in hand-to-hand fight.

“Every particular person assault on an officer at West Plaza weakened the line of defense, fueled the gang and introduced the rioters one step nearer to disrupting our democracy,” they wrote.

Protection lawyer James Monroe mentioned Webster was “carried away by the fervor of the big crowd” however didn’t be a part of many different rioters to enter the Capitol. Monroe mentioned the gang was “guided by unscrupulous politicians” and others selling the lie that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from the Republican incumbent.

“These forces championed by former President Donald Trump wielded extraordinary affect over People on Capitol Hill on January 6 by means of their relentless disinformation,” Monroe wrote.

In Could, jurors deliberated for lower than three hours earlier than discovering Webster responsible of all six counts in his indictment, together with a cost of assaulting Rathbun with a harmful weapon, the flag pole.

Julian Khater, 33, pleaded responsible to 2 counts of assaulting or obstructing officers with a harmful weapon. He might resist 20 years in jail, however will possible face a sentence of round 6½ to eight years at a listening to scheduled for December.

The case in opposition to Khater and a second man was among the many most notable introduced by the Justice Division. George Pierre Tanios introduced the pepper spray in a backpack. Tanios beforehand pleaded responsible and can be anticipated to be sentenced in December.

Webster had testified at trial that he was making an attempt to guard himself from a “rogue cop” who punched him within the face. He additionally accused Rathbun of fomenting the confrontation.

Rathbun testified that he didn’t strike or search a struggle with Webster. Rathbun mentioned he was making an attempt to push Webster again from a safety perimeter that he and different officers have been struggling to take care of.

Rathbun’s physique digicam captured Webster shouting profanity and insults earlier than they made bodily contact. Video exhibits Webster slamming one of many bike racks at Rathbun earlier than the officer reached out with an open left hand and punched the correct facet of Webster’s face.

After Rathbun punched his face, Webster swung a metallic flag pole in direction of the officer in a downward chopping movement, hitting a motorcycle rack. Rathbun grabbed the damaged put up from Webster, who charged the officer, tackled him to the bottom and grabbed his fuel masks, choking him by the chin strap.

Webster mentioned he went to the Capitol to “ask” lawmakers to “overview” the outcomes of the 2020 presidential election. However he testified he had no intention of interfering with the joint session of Congress to certify the victory of President Joe Biden.

Webster retired from the NYPD in 2011 after 20 years of service, which included a stint in then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s non-public safety division. He served within the US Marine Corps from 1985 to 1989 earlier than becoming a member of the NYPD in 1991.

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