A retired NYPD officer and former Marine turned himself in at the FBI’s Hudson Valley office on Monday for allegedly assaulting a cop during the U.S. Capitol riot on Jan. 6, CNN reports.
Thomas Webster, 52, has been accused of striking a Capitol police officer several times with an aluminum pole holding a Marine Corps flag. Assistant U.S. Attorney Benjamin Gianforti shared body cam footage following the metal pipe incident, which shows that Webster also attempted to take off that same officer’s face shield and gas mask, choking him with the chin strap. His alleged behavior has earned him the nickname “eye gouger” on social media.
Prosecutors allege Webster was berating the officer before attacking him, saying, per HuffPost, “You fucking piece of shit. You fucking Commie motherfuckers. Come on, take your shit off. Take your shit off.” Webster allegedly wore a bulletproof vest at the time of the incident, which prosecutors believe suggests he was prepared for a physical altercation. Webster allegedly brought a gun with him to Washington D.C. Even though he said he left it in his hotel, it’s against the law for someone to bring a weapon to D.C.
Webster claims he was punched by the Capitol officer before going on the offensive. However, prosecutors say they cannot corroborate his account after reviewing body cam video that was taken 10 minutes before their confrontation escalated.
Webster was honorably discharged by the Marines, and retired from the NYPD in 2011. He has no prior arrests. Webster’s lawyer James Monroe said he advised him to surrender after discovering that images of his face at the Capitol were making the rounds on social media.
Webster has been charged with assaulting police officers with a deadly weapon, obstruction of law enforcement during civil disorder, knowingly entering a restricted area, disorderly conduct in a restricted area, engaging in physical violence in a restricted area, and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds. A judge has granted the prosecutor’s request to have Webster remain in custody until his next hearing.
He’s scheduled to appear in court on March 3.