A 20-year New York Police Department veteran has been found guilty on all charges in connection to the Capitol riot, making him the first Jan. 6 defendant to be convicted for assaulting a police officer.

Thomas Webster was found guilty on all six counts against him, including assault of an officer, interfering with police in a riot, trespassing, and disorderly and violent conduct while carrying a deadly or dangerous weapon on Capitol grounds, according to court records. The former officer is the fourth defendant to go to trial and be found guilty of his charges.

“We’re disappointed,” said defense attorney James Monroe after the verdict. “But we recognized from the beginning that folks [in Washington, D.C.,] were quite traumatized by what transpired on Jan. 6. And I think we saw some of this expressed today.”


Webster had maintained his innocence throughout the trial, arguing he was acting out of self-defense when he tackled Noah Rathbun, a Capitol Police officer, and struck him with a metal flagpole. However, the jury deliberated in less than three hours, convicting him all on counts.

“I guess we were all surprised that he would even make that defense argument,” a juror told reporters. “There was no dissension among us at all. We unanimously agreed that there was no self-defense argument here at all.”

Video footage played in court showed Webster on the day of the riot yelling obscenities at officers as he pushed forward with the crowd. At one point, he pushed a metal bike rack into Rathbun, prompting the Capitol officer to push back.

Webster then swung the flagpole at Rathbun, tackling him to the ground as the crowd surged forward.

The former NYPD officer said Rathbun had instigated the fight by gesturing him forward and then hitting him in the face, although video footage did not show this. Webster said he then felt afraid for his safety, prompting him to fight back.

“I saw him starting to separate the racks to come after me,” Webster said in court. “I’m afraid. I thought he’s some rogue cop, and I was concerned for my safety.”


FBI agents and Capitol Police who testified at the trial rejected this account, noting Rathbun’s actions were in line and appropriate for protecting the perimeter of the Capitol.

Webster is set to receive sentencing in September. The assault charge alone could put him behind bars for 20 years, although it’s likely prosecutors will recommend a shorter term, according to the Associated Press.