A Capitol rioter accused of assaulting police on Jan. 6 is going to try the self-defense approach, WUSA reports.
Thomas Webster is claiming that an officer used “excessive force” against him during the riot.
Webster, 54, is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and a 20-year member of the New York Police Department. His attorney, James Monroe, said he plans to use body cam footage from the D.C. Police officer Webster is accused of assaulting to show the officer used excessive force before Webster acted.
As WUSA points out, a defendant in the District of Columbia cannot claim self-defense to justify an assault on a police officer unless the officer uses unreasonable force.
In the body camera footage Webster’s lawyer intends to use as evidence for their claim, Webster can be seen yelling insults and calling police “commies” before he repeatedly assaulted them with a flag pole. He and several other rioters can then be seen breaking through police barriers and charging officers.
One D.C. Police officer said Webster tried to rip off his helmet, choking him by his own chin strap.
“Like, there was one last chance to maybe set things right, I guess, is the way to put it,” Webster told FBI agents in an interview. “I just wanted to go down there and show the support.”