A former New York Police Department officer was handed a 10-year federal prison sentence Thursday after being convicted of a well-publicized attack on a Washington, D.C., police officer during the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. File Photo by Al Drago/UPI | License Photo
Sept. 1 (UPI) — A former New York Police Department officer was handed a 10-year federal prison sentence Thursday, after being convicted of a well-publicized attack on a Washington, D.C., police officer during the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Thomas Webster’s sentence is the longest given to any defendant so far stemming from the insurrection.
The former U.S. Marine was caught on video swinging a flagpole at Noah Rathbun during the attack before tackling him to the ground and attempting to rip off the officer’s gas mask.
Webster’s lawyers argued self defense, claiming that Rathbun instigated his violent response. They also maintained he was attempting to help the officer see his hands when he ripped his mask off.
A federal jury needed only two hours to convict the 56-year-old in May on an assault with a deadly weapon charge. He was also convicted of five other counts. He faced up to 20 years in prison, while prosecutors argued for a term of 17.5 years.
Webster apologized to Rathburn in the courtroom Thursday, turning toward the officer and saying he was sorry.
Webster is a former member of ex-New York City’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg security detail, and was the fourth person convicted in Jan. 6-related trials prosecuted by the Justice Department.
“What you did that day, it is hard to really put into words,” District Court Judge Amit Mehta told Webster during the sentencing, referring to him as “the first aggressor” in the attack.
“I still remain shocked every single time I see .”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Hava Arin Levenson Mirell told the court that “Nothing can explain or justify Mr. Webster’s rage. Webster is one of the rioters who should have known better.”
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