Cop-on-Cop Violence? NYPD Officer Found Guilty of Assaulting DC Police During January 6 Riot
Federal prosecutors have brought charges against more than 780 people in connection with the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol by supporters of then-US President Donald Trump, about one-third of which concern alleged assaults or interference with law enforcement.
A federal jury in Washington, DC, on Monday convicted a New York Police Department (NYPD) officer of assaulting a Washington, DC, police officer during the January 6 insurrection.
According to the Associated Press
, the jury took just three hours to find Thomas Webster guilty of six counts, including interfering with police in a riot, trespassing, disorderly and violent conduct while carrying a deadly or dangerous weapon on Capitol grounds, and assaulting an officer with said dangerous weapon: an aluminum flagpole carrying the red banner of the US Marine Corps.
The jury was easily won over by body camera footage from the assaulted officer, Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) officer Noah Rathbun, which contradicted Webster’s claims that Rathbun had started the altercation.
“I guess we were all surprised that he would even make that defense argument,” a juror anonymously told the AP. “There was no dissention among us at all. We unanimously agreed that there was no self-defense argument here at all.”
Stills from the video appeared in the criminal complaint first filed
in February 2021, just weeks after the incident. They show Webster swinging the flagpole over his head at Rathbun, who is in a police line on the other side of bike rack barricades from Webster. The disgraced NYPD officer is flanked by thousands of Trump supporters engaged in similar combat with police
. Other footage filmed by a third party showed Webster pinning Rathbun to the ground and trying to pull off his gas mask.
Webster is set to be sentenced on September 2.
The attack on the Capitol followed a rally hosted by Trump at the White House at which he urged his followers to “stop the steal,” referring to the November 2020 election that he claimed he only lost to Democratic candidate Joe Biden because of fraud. At the time of the January 6 attack, a joint session of Congress was convened inside the Capitol Building to certify the results of the election.
Five people died in the attack, including a rioter who was shot by a US Capitol Police officer outside the House chamber. The national legislative building was also looted, and Congress was temporarily scattered. However, the rioters failed in their goals of capturing either the election results or any politicians, and they were soon cleared from the building by police and National Guard soldiers, who then garrisoned the capital city.
Trump was impeached on charges of inciting the insurrection, but he was acquitted by a minority of US senators in a trial weeks after he left office, which many saw as politically motivated.
In the time since, House lawmakers have gathered mountains of evidence
, including documents, records, and testimonies, from dozens of sources
, including a litany of Trump administration officials and the right-wing pundits with whom they coordinated the 'Stop the Steal' campaign in the weeks after the November 2020 election.