A retired New York police officer faces charges for participating in the U.S. Capitol riot last month, accused of having attacked a Capitol Police officer.
Federal prosecutors alleged Tuesday in court that the man, Thomas Webster, wore a bulletproof vest and was prepared for "armed conflict" during the Jan. 6 attack on the federal building. Prosecutors alleged that Webster attacked a Capitol Police officer using a flagpole that was flying a Marine Corps flag and that he pulled down the officer's mask, causing him to choke.
Webster is accused of calling the officer a "commie motherf-----" who went after him like a "junkyard dog," prosecutors argued in court Tuesday.
Webster faces charges of assaulting, resisting or impeding officers with a deadly weapon, obstruction of law enforcement, knowingly entering a restricted building or grounds without lawful authority with a weapon, disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restrictive building or grounds with a weapon, engaging in physical violence in a restrictive building or grounds, and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.
FBI investigators viewed Webster on both body camera video and "open source media" from Twitter, according to a charging document. Open source images appear to show Webster pinning the officer to the ground while straddling him and trying to forcibly remove the officer's face shield and gas mask, the document said.
James Monroe, Webster's attorney, did not deny that his client was seen in video evidence found by investigators. Webster went to the Capitol to protest, and he did so at the urging of President Donald Trump, Monroe argued.
Monroe asked the judge to release Webster on bond, citing his family ties and lack of criminal history. Webster was honorably discharged from the Marines and spent 20 years with the New York Police Department, Monroe said.
As a police officer, Webster worked security for City Hall and the mayor's official residence, Gracie Mansion, according to law enforcement officials with direct knowledge of the investigation. He retired from the force in 2011, the police department confirmed Tuesday.
Webster surrendered at the FBI's Hudson Valley office Monday, NBC New York reported. He also turned over his firearms, his pistol permit and his passport to authorities.
Webster is among more than 200 people who have been charged in the Capitol riot, some of whom have been identified as military veterans.