A former NYPD officer convicted of attacking police on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6 says he partly blames his actions on “flashbacks” from his later years working as a police officer in the Bronx.
Thomas Webster, 56, was found guilty in May after a jury did not believe his story that he was acting in self-defense and attempting to help an officer “see my hands” when he grabbed the officer’s face mask after waving a flag. the officer and then charged through a police roadblock and tackled the officer to the ground.
The video shows Webster, wearing a bright red jacket, charging officers, including DC Metropolitan Police officer Noah Rathbun, on the lower west terrace of the US Capitol. Rathbun testified that he had trouble breathing. when Webster grabbed his mask because the strap was cutting off his oxygen.
Federal prosecutors are searching what would be the longest sentence in a Jan. 6 case to date: 210 months, or 17.5 years, in federal prison, before Webster’s sentencing Thursday.
Your lawyers are searching a downward deviation from the sentencing guidelines in your case. in a letter requested a lower sentence, Webster told a psychologist that he could link his violent actions on Capitol Hill to a past fight with an armed robber in the Bronx who was trying to obtain his gun. Webster told the psychologist that he attacked a Capitol police officer with a metal pole because “at the time, I had flashbacks of the fight we had on the stairs.”
Webster is seen and heard on video yelling and swearing at uniformed officers on January 6. The video then shows him swinging a metal pole and smashing it into the bike racks being used to try to keep the crowd at bay. Officer Rathbun managed to remove the pole, but video captured Webster pushing through the police line. He is seen attacking the officer and pulling his mask off of him. During his trial in May, Mr. Webster testified that he was simply trying to protect himself from “rogue police,” and his attorney claims that he showed “restraint” that day.
But the jury saw the video and convicted Webster of 6 counts, 4 of which include use of a deadly or dangerous weapon.
Included in his pre-sentence filing is a mental evaluation by a psychiatrist, Dr. Shahla Gorovoy. She writes that Webster attacked the officer in part as a result of childhood experiences and post-traumatic stress disorder from 20 years as an NYPD officer. In addition to working in the Bronx as an NYPD officer, the father of three had also served on a security detail outside City Hall.
According to her letter, Dr. Gorovoy says that Mr. Webster spoke about a traumatic event during his time as an NYPD officer. He said that he had endured a “violent fight” with an armed robber in the Bronx who was trying to get the gun from him. Webster said that he was injured in the incident and had to be taken to the hospital. She added: “Mr. Webster was able to link the event of January 6 to the incident he experienced “during the struggle with the robber” by “trying to show the officer my hands so he knows I am not armed, or will not go for his gun; because I As a police officer, his first fear is that the person may go for his gun.”
In the letter, Dr. Gorovoy added that Mr. Webster is now remorseful and remorseful, that he “wishes he had stayed home that day” and now “understands that violence is not acceptable.”
And it appears that Webster blames the leaders who called the crowd to Capitol Hill, without naming former President Trump by name.
“The fact is that [Mr. Webster] and others were called to Washington, DC by an elected official. People like Mr. Webster were told lies, fed untruths, and told our election was stolen when it clearly wasn’t,” writes his attorney James Monroe.
Webster’s attorney added: “The defendant is no longer under the illusion that the 2020 election was stolen or that he was fighting for a just cause.”
More than 850 people have been arrested in connection with the Jan. 6 attack, with hundreds more arrests to come. More than 350 defendants have pleaded guilty in connection with the riots.
The first eight Jan. 6 defendants to face a jury trial: Guy Refitt, Thomas Robertson, Dustin Thompson, Thomas Webster, Timothy Hale-Cusanelli, Anthony Robert WilliamsMatthew Bledsoe and Eric Herrera – were convicted of all the charges they faced. Several other defendants have been convicted by judges during bench trials, with only one defendant fully acquitted.