Retired NYPD Officer Found Guilty by Jury of Felony Charges for Actions Related to Capitol Breach
Defendant Assaulted Law Enforcement Officer With Flagpole, Tackled Him, and Tried to Remove Officer’s Helmet and Gas Mask
WASHINGTON – A retired New York Police Department officer was found guilty today by a federal jury of assaulting a law enforcement officer with a deadly or dangerous weapon during the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. His and others’ actions disrupted a joint session of the U.S. Congress convened to ascertain and count the electoral votes related to the presidential election.
Thomas Webster, 56, of the village of Florida, New York, was found guilty in the District of Columbia of five felonies and one misdemeanor for his actions during the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol breach. He was the first defendant to stand trial on charges that included assaulting, resisting, or impeding officers using a deadly or dangerous weapon, a felony.
According to the government’s evidence, on Jan. 6, at approximately 2:28 p.m., Webster was among rioters on the other side of metal barricades set up by law enforcement officers attempting to secure the Lower West Terrace area of the Capitol. Webster – who was carrying a large metal flagpole with a red U.S. Marine Corps flag – approached an officer from the Metropolitan Police Department who was behind the metal gates. Webster pointed his finger at the officer and began swearing at him, telling him, among other things to “take your sh--- off,” an apparent invitation to the officer to take off his badge and fight.
Webster then aggressively shoved the metal gate into the officer’s body. He raised the flagpole and forcefully swung it toward the officer. The officer managed to wrest the flagpole away. Webster, however, then broke through the metal barricade, tackled the officer to the ground, and tried to remove his helmet and gas mask, choking him. During this attack, the officer struggled to breathe.
Webster was arrested on Feb. 21, 2021. He is to be sentenced on Sept. 2, 2022.
He was found guilty of five felonies: assaulting, resisting, or impeding officers with a dangerous weapon; obstructing officers during a civil disorder; entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds, while carrying a dangerous weapon; engaging in disorderly or disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds, while carrying a dangerous weapon, and engaging in physical violence in a restricted building or grounds, while carrying a dangerous weapon. He also was found guilty of one misdemeanor, engaging in an act of physical violence in the Capitol building or grounds.
The charge of assaulting, resisting, or impeding officers with a dangerous weapon carries a statutory maximum of 20 years in prison. The charge of obstructing officers during a civil disorder carries a statutory maximum of five years in prison. The charges of entering and remaining, engaging in disorderly or disruptive conduct, and engaging in physical violence in a restricted building or grounds, while carrying a dangerous weapon, each carry up to 10 years. The misdemeanor charge of engaging in an act of physical violence in the Capitol building or grounds carries a statutory maximum of six months. The charges also carry potential financial penalties.
The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Department of Justice National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section. Valuable assistance was provided by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.
The case is being investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office, which identified Webster as AFO #145 on its seeking information photos, and the FBI’s New York Field Office, Hudson Valley Resident Agency. Valuable assistance was provided by the U.S. Capitol Police, the Metropolitan Police Department, and the U.S. Secret Service.
In the 15 months since Jan. 6, 2021, nearly 800 individuals have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including over 250 individuals charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement. The investigation remains ongoing.
Anyone with tips can call 1-800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324) or visit tips.fbi.gov.