Bob Van Voris
A retired New York City cop and former Marine was sentenced Thursday to 10 years in prison for assaulting police at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, the longest sentence for crimes connected to the riot.
Thomas Webster was convicted May 2 of six criminal counts for assaulting a Washington Metropolitan Police Officer and attempting to hit officers with a metal flagpole. Federal prosecutors said Webster tackled the officer, choking him with the chinstrap of his gas mask, and led the assault on a line of police defending the Capitol.
U.S. District Judge Amit P. Mehta sentenced Webster, 56, in a hearing in Washington federal court, court records show.
Webster, of Florida, New York, was guilty of “disgracing a democracy that he once fought honorably to protect and serve,” prosecutors said in a court filing urging the judge to give him 17 1/2 years in prison.
Wearing a bulletproof vest and carrying a U.S. Marine Corps flag on a large metal pole, Webster illegally entered the Capitol grounds and was part of a mob facing metal barricades set up by officers to protect the Lower West Plaza area of the Capitol, U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves said in a statement. Webster pointed and swore at one officer, appearing to try to goad him into a fight.
Webster shoved a metal gate into the officer, then raised the flagpole and swung at him. The officer wrestled the flagpole away, but Webster broke through the barricade, tackled the officer and attempted to pull off his helmet and gas mask, choking him. Others in the mob kicked the officer, according to the U.S. attorney’s statement.
Also Thursday, a New Jersey man pleaded guilty in Washington to two felonies for attacking police with pepper spray in the riot. Julian Elie Khater, 33, pleaded guilty to two counts of assaulting, resisting, or impeding officers with a dangerous weapon.
More than 860 people have been arrested for crimes related to the Jan. 6 riot, including more than 260 charged with assaulting or impeding police, Graves said in the statement.
Before Webster was sentenced, the longest term for any Jan. 6 defendants was 87 months.
The case is U.S. v. Webster, 21-cr-00208, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).
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