Ex-NYPD officer charged with assault throughout Jan. 6 riot testifies he acted in self-defence



A retired New York Metropolis police officer charged with assaulting a police officer in the course of the U.S. Capitol riot testified Thursday at his trial that he was making an attempt to defend himself in opposition to a “rogue cop” who punched him within the face.

Thomas Webster, who took the witness stand on the third day of his federal trial, stated it felt like he was hit with a hammer or a freight practice when Metropolitan Police Division officer Noah Rathbun reached out with an open left hand and struck the appropriate aspect of Webster’s face.

“It was painful, and I used to be seeing stars,” Webster stated. “It was a tough hit, and all I wished to do was defend myself.”

Rathbun, one in every of dozens of officers injured on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, testified Wednesday that he did not punch or decide a struggle with Webster.

A grand jury indicted Webster on six counts, together with a cost that he assaulted Rathbun with a harmful weapon, a metallic flag pole. He is not accused of getting into the Capitol on Jan. 6.

A mob of supporters of then-U.S. President Donald Trump climbs via a window they broke as they stormed the Capitol. (Leah Millis/Reuters)

Wore bulletproof vest

The trial is scheduled to renew Friday with extra testimony from Webster, who was carrying a bulletproof vest and carrying a U.S. Marine Corps flag on a metallic pole when he approached the Capitol on Jan. 6..

Video from Rathbun’s physique digital camera exhibits that the officer touched Webster’s chest and shoved his face after the New York man slammed a motorbike rack at him. Rathbun stated he was making an attempt to maneuver Webster again from a safety perimeter that he and different officers had been struggling to keep up behind a row of metallic bike racks.

After Rathbun made contact together with his face, Webster swung a metallic flag pole on the officer in a downward chopping movement, hanging a motorbike rack in entrance of the officer. After Rathbun grabbed the damaged pole, Webster charged on the officer and tackled him to the bottom.

Webster, 56, stated he believed Rathbun was about to return after him and recalled pondering, “He is gone rogue.”

“He is performing in a way in contrast to different law enforcement officials, and I am involved for my security,” he stated.

Rathbun testified that he began choking when Webster grabbed his fuel masks, urgent the chin strap in opposition to the officer’s throat.

“That is not a place that anybody desires to be in,” Rathbun stated.

Webster stated he grabbed Rathbun by the fuel masks as a result of he wished the officer to see his arms.

Folks scale the wall of the Capitol. Webster’s trial is the primary amongst dozens of circumstances during which Capitol riot defendants are charged with assaulting police. (Leah Millis/Reuters)

Webster’s jury trial is the fourth for a Capitol riot defendant and the sixth total. The primary three Capitol riot defendants to get a jury trial had been convicted of all costs of their respective indictments.

Webster’s trial is the primary amongst dozens of circumstances during which Capitol riot defendants are charged with assaulting police.

Two different defendants testified at their trials. Dustin Byron Thompson, an Ohio man who was convicted by a jury of obstructing Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s presidential victory, stated he was following orders from then-President Donald Trump. A decide listening to testimony and not using a jury acquitted Matthew Martin, a New Mexico man who stated outnumbered law enforcement officials allowed him and others to enter the Capitol via the Rotunda doorways.

Webster’s lawyer informed jurors in the course of the trial’s opening statements on Tuesday that Rathbun “began this complete factor” by punching Webster. Webster stated Rathbun made a hand movement that he perceived as an invite to struggle.

“It was surprising to see that,” Webster stated. “I’ve by no means witnessed a cop doing one thing like that.”

‘Distinctive second in historical past’

Webster stated he grew to become upset when he noticed others within the crowd who had been injured, together with a lady with blood on her face, and approached the road of law enforcement officials to be taught extra. Rathbun’s physique digital camera captured Webster shouting profanities and insults on the officer earlier than they made any bodily contact.

“I used to be voicing my First Modification proper,” Webster stated.

Webster stated he went to the Capitol after listening to Trump’s speech to “petition” Congress to “relook” on the outcomes of the 2020 presidential election however to not disrupt the joint session for certifying the Electoral Faculty vote.

“It was a novel second in historical past,” he stated.

Throughout her cross-examination of Webster, Justice Division prosecutor Katherine Nielsen confirmed him video photos of Webster swinging the flag pole in Rathbun’s path, charging at him after which on prime of him after tackling him. She requested Webster if he noticed concern in his face in any of these photos.

“It is anger, is not it,” she requested.

“Sure, as a result of I received hit,” he replied.

Rathbun reported a hand damage from a separate encounter with a rioter contained in the Capitol’s Rotunda. He did not report any accidents brought on by Webster, however jurors noticed photographs of leg bruises that Rathbun attributed to his confrontation with the retired officer.

Webster, who lives close to Goshen, New York, retired from the NYPD in 2011 after 20 years of service. His division service included a stint on then-mayor Michael Bloomberg’s non-public safety element. He served within the U.S. Marine Corps from 1985 to 1989 earlier than becoming a member of the NYPD in 1991.

Greater than 780 folks have been charged with riot-related federal crimes. The Justice Division says over 245 of them have been charged with assaulting or impeding legislation enforcement.

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