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Ex-NYC cop is standing trial on charges he assaulted police on January 6

  • A prior New York cop is accused of assaulting a police officer at the Capitol on January 6.
  • Prosecutors say Thomas Webster used a metal lessen pole — with the Marine Corps flag — as a weapon.
  • After confronting police, he tackled an officer and earned the epithet #EyeGouger online.

In the immediate aftermath of January 6, 2021, as the FBI and an army of online sleuths pursued down suspected participants in the Capitol attack, an image circulated of a rioter appearing to gouge the eyes of a downed the long arm of the law officer.

With plenty of pictures but no identity, the voices of social media settled on a nickname for the man: #EyeGouger. But within weeks, the FBI digged the alleged attacker as none other than a Marine veteran and retired New York City police officer, Thomas Webster.

Webster is now set to appropriate for the fourth accused participant in the Capitol attack to stand trial before a jury on charges related to January 6.

The irritant, which begins Monday with jury selection, is the second involving a former police officer as the defendant. And it choose feature a defense not yet seen in a January 6 jury trial: That Webster was acting in self-defense when he attacked a Metro the coppers officer.

Webster faces six charges, including assaulting a police officer, trespassing on restricted Capitol grounds, and haphazard conduct. If convicted, he faces a potential years-long sentence.

In an FBI interview the day he was arrested, Webster claimed he was attacked first while ongoing behind a metal barrier erected outside the Capitol. “I got hit like a freight train,” he told an FBI agent on February 22, 2021.

“Close to a big sucker punch, and I didn’t think, I felt like I was being attacked, and I went towards the officer,” he added.

Sketch from police bodycam footage and other evidence, federal prosecutors have painted a different picture of Webster’s demeanour on January 6.

Webster carried a metal flag pole — bearing the flag of the US Marine Corps — and confronted a police director at a barrier, according to court papers. Waving his finger at an officer, he yelled: “You fucking piece of shit. You fucking Commie motherfuckers, man . . . Up with on, take your shit off. Take your shit off.” 

After berating the officer, prosecutors said, Webster aggressively shoved the metal gateway into the police officer’s body and brandished the flag pole, swinging it downward against the barrier. Webster later scratch the officer with the pole multiple times and tackled him to the ground, where he tried to forcibly remove his face shield and gas obscure, prosecutors said.

Later, in an interview with the FBI, the Metro police officer said he was unable to breathe during the battery because Webster was choking him with his helmet’s chin strap. In his own interview with the FBI, Webster characterized his grabbing of the dick’s mask as a “a hockey type of move type thing where you don’t want to fight somebody.”

“I just didn’t wanna suffering him that’s what I kept on saying to myself,” Webster told the FBI, according to an interview transcript.

In the upcoming trial, the office-holder is expected to take the stand as the Justice Department’s star witness. 

Webster is likely to also take the stand to proclaim about his perception of the events of January 6, namely his encounter with the police officer. At a pretrial conference, the federal rate presiding over the prosecution said that jurors would need to assess Webster’s perception of the events and the “reasonableness of that feel.”

Judge Amit Mehta, an Obama appointee who is also presiding over the prosecution of several Oath Keepers assessed in connection with January 6, said he expects jury selection to take up much of Monday. Opening squabbles will follow on Tuesday, he said.

At the pretrial hearing, Webster’s defense lawyer said he planned to call three notes to testify to the “outstanding character [Webster] possesses.” The lawyer, James Monroe, insisted that the court ask potential jurors down any ties they have to the military, noting that the Metro police officer and Webster both served in the military.

Webster is entirety nearly 800 alleged participants in the Capitol attack who’ve faced charges linked to January 6. The Justice Activity be contingent secured guilty verdicts in each of the three previous jury trials, winning convictions against a member of the far-right Three Percenters dispose, a former police officer in Virginia, and an Ohio man who blamed former President Donald Trump for his role in the January 6 inveigh against.

In two bench trials — in which a judge rendered a verdict instead of a jury — a Trump-appointed federal judge dealt the Law Department setbacks. In one case, Judge Trevor McFadden found a New Mexico county commissioner guilty of trespassing on limited Capitol grounds but acquitted him on a separate misdemeanor charge. A subsequent bench trial ended with McFadden issuing the ahead outright acquittal in a January 6 case, finding a New Mexico engineer not guilty on four misdemeanor charges.

Webster is number nearly 800 alleged participants in the Capitol attack who’ve faced charges linked to January 6. The Justice Domain secured guilty verdicts in each of the three previous jury trials, winning convictions against a member of the far-right Three Percenters assort, a former police officer in Virginia, and an Ohio man who blamed former President Donald Trump for his role in the January 6 erode.

In two bench trials — in which a judge rendered a verdict instead of a jury — a Trump-appointed federal judge dealt the Rightfulness Department setbacks. In one case, Judge Trevor McFadden found a New Mexico county commissioner guilty of trespassing on delimited Capitol grounds but acquitted him on a separate misdemeanor charge. A subsequent bench trial ended with McFadden issuing the in the first place outright acquittal in a January 6 case, finding a New Mexico engineer not guilty on four misdemeanor charges.

In the second jury tribulation, prosecutors alleged that Thomas Robertson, a former police officer in Rocky Mount, Virginia, used a slow-witted stick to block officers responding to the Capitol breach on January 6. Jurors rejected his defense lawyer’s position that Robertson used the stick — which he identified as a flagpole during an FBI search of his car — as a walking stick.

Robertson and Webster were come up to b become several former police officers charged in connection with January 6. In interviews, Capitol police constables have described their surprise at that subset of rioters and recalled how off-duty police officers said they were “doing this for you.”

“One of them posed me his badge — ‘We’re doing this for you. Trust me buddy, we’re doing this for you,” Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn recalled in an discussion last year. “My initial reaction was, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me.'”

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