WASHINGTON — A jury on Monday convicted a former New York City police officer for assaulting a D.C. police officer during the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Thomas Webster, a 56-year-old retired NYPD officer was found guilty of all six counts, including felony assault and civil disorder. He was the first Jan. 6 defendant tried on assault charges.
The jury began deliberating Friday evening and returned a verdict Monday morning after recessing for the weekend. He is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 2.
Webster tried to convince jurors that a D.C. police officer instigated the fight. His attorney said Webster showed "restraint," and Webster testified that he grabbed the officer's gas mask so that the officer could "see my hands." The D.C. officer testified that he struggled to breathe when Webster tackled him and ripped off his gas mask.
Webster, who had been a police officer for 20 years, told the jury during his testimony that he was punched by the D.C. officer and that the officer tried to provoke him into a fight as other rioters attacked law enforcement. In his telling, Webster portrayed himself as the victim of police brutality.
He told jurors that he thought the D.C. police officer wanted to fight him, and claimed the officer made a provocative gesture, one that wasn't caught on multiple cameras that captured their encounter.
“I almost felt like I was the cop and he was the protester,” Webster said.
But Justice Department prosecutors told jurors they should use common sense.
“Do you believe the defendant’s version of what happened that day?” Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian P. Kelly asked during closing arguments on Friday.
“This case is about Thomas Webster’s rage," Kelly said. Webster said the D.C. officer instigated the attack "because he needs it to be true," Kelly said.
A juror later told NBC News, “There was no dissension among us at all.”
“We unanimously agreed,” the juror said. “Some said we came to a verdict quickly. We came to a verdict deliberately.”
Nearly 800 defendants have been charged in connection with the Jan. 6 attack, and more than 250 have pleaded guilty. The FBI has the identities of hundreds more Capitol rioters who haven't yet been arrested, and the Biden administration is seeking millions in additional resources to prosecute cases going forward.
Another Jan. 6 defendant, Kevin Creek, was sentenced Monday to more than two years in federal prison for assaulting officers during the attack on the Capitol. Webster was seen in videos released during court proceedings in connection with the Creek case.