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Shocking new video shows ex-NYPD officer charging police with flagpole during Capitol riot, prosecutors say

·3-min read
Thomas Webster, wearing a red jacket, accused of attacking police with flagpole during US Capitol attack on 6 January 2021. (DOJ)
Thomas Webster, wearing a red jacket, accused of attacking police with flagpole during US Capitol attack on 6 January 2021. (DOJ)

Shocking new bodycam video shows an ex-NYPD officer charging police with a flagpole during the Capitol riot, prosecutors have said.

The Justice Department released the video of Thomas Webster allegedly attacking US Capitol police officers during the 6 January riot after legal action from media outlets.

Mr Webster, a former Marine and retired officer from the New York Police Department, has been charged with seven federal crimes for his role in the insurrection, in which Donald Trump supporters tried to prevent the certification of Joe Biden’s election victory.

Officials say that the 56-second video shows Mr Webster, wearing a red coat and carrying the aluminium flagpole, shouting at police officers before charging at them and becoming engaged in a fight.

Prosecutors say the video shows an officer grabbing the flagpole away from Mr Webster, who then tackles the police officer to the ground.

Warning: This video contains explicit language

The man identified as Mr Webster can be heard in the video calling the police officer he allegedly attacked “a f***ing piece of s***” and “commie motherf***er.”

Mr Webster, a married father of three, has been charged with a string of crimes, including assaulting police, unlawfully entering Capitol grounds with a dangerous weapon and civil disorder.

He has pleaded not guilty on all charges.

Mr Webster retired from the NYPD in 2011 and had worked in the uniformed security detail at City Hall and Gracie Mansion, the residence of the New York City mayor, according to CNN.

News outlets have spent months fighting to have videos used by federal prosecutors in cases against alleged rioters made available as most of it has not yet been seen by the public.

A federal judge has ruled that media outlets must apply to have video released on a case-by-case basis, and have not agreed to a blanket release.

Prosecutors have already used body camera and surveillance videos in dozens of cases, but they have not been made public as the proceedings have been held virtually because of the pandemic.

The FBI has already arrested nearly 500 individuals in connection with the riot, and is still pursuing hundreds of other cases in what it has called “one of the most far-reaching and extensive” investigations in the bureau’s history.”