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Tags: jan.6 | defendant | flagpole | restraint | nypd

Jan. 6 Defendant Claims Swinging Flagpole Showed 'Restraint'

Protesters enter the U.S. Capitol
Protesters enter the U.S. Capitol. (AP)

By    |   Tuesday, 26 April 2022 03:19 PM EDT

The fourth Jan 6 Capitol attack defendant to face a jury trial is claiming that swinging a flagpole was self-defense.

Thomas Webster, a former New York City police officer, is facing six charges, including a charge of assaulting, resisting, or impeding federal officers using a dangerous weapon, NBC News reported.

Jan. 6 defendants Dustin Thompson, Thomas Robertson, and Guy Reffitt each were found guilty on all counts at their jury trials.

Webster's lawyer, whose client swung a flagpole at and tackled an officer protecting the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, told jurors during opening arguments Tuesday that the defendant's actions actually were "really a show of restraint."

In video shown to the jury Tuesday, Webster was seen pushing a barricade and swinging a metal flagpole at an officer before tackling him to the ground, choking the officer with his gas mask, NBC News said.

Webster's attorney, James E. Monroe, told jurors that the officer struck his client and "started this whole thing."

Monroe claimed the officer's use of force was inappropriate.

"This case is built on the lies of a young officer from the Metropolitan Police Department," Monroe said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Hava Arin Levenson Mirell told jurors that Jan. 6 "was a day unlike any day this country has ever seen."

"Our democracy came grinding to a halt," Mirell said. "[Webster] came ready for battle."

Mirell said Webster was wearing a bulletproof vest issued to him by the New York City Police Department.

The prosecutor also said Webster was "rage-filled," and that the officer tried to disarm the demonstrator, who had swung the flagpole at him.

Mirell said finding Webster guilty was the "only reasonable and logical verdict."

Noah Rathbun, the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department officer tackled by Webster, is expected to testify in the case.

NBC News reported that in an unrelated incident on May 24, 2021, Rathbun fatally shot an armed man who had allegedly held his ex-girlfriend against her will.

Rathbun shot the 26-year-old when the man "took up a shooting stance and pointed his rifle" at him, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia. The officer was not charged in the incident.

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The fourth Jan 6 Capitol attack defendant to face a jury trial is claiming that swinging a flagpole was self-defense.
jan.6, defendant, flagpole, restraint, nypd
361
2022-19-26
Tuesday, 26 April 2022 03:19 PM
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