NYPD veteran convicted of assaulting police officer during Capitol riots

Edited By: Moohita Kaur Garg
Washington, United States Updated: May 03, 2022, 12:10 AM(IST)

Thomas Webster claims that he was defending himself from a "rogue cop" who punched him and accused Rathbun of instigating the confrontation.  Photograph:( WION Web Team )

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The trial was the fourth in a Capitol Hill riot case, but the first with assault charges. US District Judge Amit Mehta is scheduled to pass a sentence for Webster on September 2

A New York Police Department (NYPD) veteran, Thomas Webster, has been convicted of assault during the infamous United States Capitol Hill riot.

The 20-year NYPD veteran was convicted of assaulting a police officer during the riots by a federal jury, on Monday.

Webster, 56 has been found guilty on all six counts in his indictment, including that of assaulting Metropolitan Police Department officer Noah Rathbun with a metal flagpole. 

Also read | FBI arrests Capitol Hill rioter after he brags about crime to Uber driver

This assault alone can earn him up to 20 years in prison. 

Webster claims that he was defending himself from a "rogue cop" who punched him and accused Rathbun of instigating the confrontation. 

The officer in his testimony denied this accusation.

Webster's self-defence argument as per an AP report was rejected on the basis of two videos of his assault on Rathbun.

Even before any physical contact was made, Rathbun's body camera video recorded the NYPD veteran yelling profanities at him. According to Webster, he was exercising his right to free speech by yelling at officers.

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According to the video, Webster smashed a bike rack onto Rathbun, who replied with a slap. Webster describes what happened next as self-defence.

“It was a hard hit, and all I wanted to do was defend myself.”

Webster swung a metal flag pole at the officer in a downward chopping motion after Rathbun smacked him, striking a bike rack in front of him. Rathbun then seized the shattered pole, and Webster charged at the cop, tackling him to the ground.

He snatched the officer's gas mask.

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According to the Associated Press, Rathbun testified that he began choking when Webster seized his gas mask and pressed the chin strap over the officer's throat.

The trial was the fourth in a Capitol Hill riot case, but the first with assault charges. US District Judge Amit Mehta is scheduled to pass a sentence for Webster on September 2.

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(With inputs from agencies)

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