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Veteran NYPD officer intends to claim self-defense against charges he repeatedly beat DC Police with a metal pole

Thomas Webster, of New York, is accused of assaulting police with a dangerous weapon during the January 6 Capitol riot.

A 20-year veteran of the New York Police Department accused of assaulting police during the January 6 Capitol riot intends to claim it was self-defense when he repeatedly struck at officers with a metal pole, according to a new filing by his attorney.

In a notice of affirmative defenses filed in U.S. District Court Thursday, the attorney for Thomas Webster says an officer used “excessive force” against him while attempting to defend the U.S. Capitol Building from a pro-Trump mob.

Webster was arrested in February and indicted the following month on seven counts, including a felony count of assaulting police with a dangerous weapon that carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

According to court documents, Webster, 54, is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and a 20-year member of the New York Police Department – including a stint as part of a uniformed detail for former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

On Thursday, Webster’s attorney, James Monroe, said he planned to use body-worn camera footage from the D.C. Police officer Webster is accused of assaulting to show the officer used excessive force prior to any alleged criminal act on Webster’s part.

In the District of Columbia, a person cannot claim self-defense to justify an assault on a police officer unless the officer uses more force than “reasonably necessary.” The force used in response must then be no more than necessary for one’s protection.

A portion of the body-worn camera video Webster intends to use was released publicly in June. In it, a man prosecutors have identified as Webster can be seen angrily yelling insults and calling police “commies” before repeatedly assaulting them with a flag pole bearing the flag of the U.S. Marine Corps.

Watch the body-worn camera footage released in the case below:

After the initial assault, the video show Webster and several other members of the pro-Trump mob breaking through police barricades and charging officers. Webster can be seen in a pitched struggle on top of an officer who was knocked to the ground.

In an interview with prosecutors, a D.C. Police officer said as Webster tried to rip off his helmet the officer was choked by his own chin strap, leaving him unable to breathe during the assault.

Charging documents also included a link to a YouTube video prosecutors said was taken shortly after the alleged attack in which Webster, wearing a body armor vest, looked into the camera and said, “Send more Patriots. We need some help.”

According to a transcript of an interview with FBI agents in late February, Webster claimed he had gone to D.C. to “show support.”

“Like, there was one last chance to maybe set things right, I guess, is the way to put it,” he said. “I just wanted to go down there and show the support."

Thomas was next scheduled to appear in court for a status hearing on January 28. He was set to begin a jury trial on April 4.

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