New details emerge about the infamous Capitol rioter known as the 'eye gouger'
Julian Leshay/WeekenderNJ

On Thursday, The Daily Beast profiled Thomas Webster, a retired New York City police officer who guarded Ground Zero after 9/11 — and is now accused of savagely beating a Capitol Police officer and tearing at his mask so aggressively he's known as the "eye gouger."

"In the 2006 civil action, Webster was one of a large number of plaintiffs suing a host of parties connected to the World Trade Center. He sought compensation for effects on his physical and mental health that he claimed to have suffered during 20 days between Dec. 13, 2001, and April 5, 2002, when he was assigned to provide security at the 'WTC site,'" reported Michael Daly. "A fill-in-the-blanks complaint dated Sept. 18, 2006, says Webster was exposed to toxic fumes and substances that caused him a host of woes. Each is accompanied by a notation reading, 'Onset 6/1/2003,' or more than a year after his 20 days of duty. He specifically cites 'asthma, cough, respiratory problems, shortness of breath' as well as 'fear of cancer' and 'sleep problems.'"

He and his fellow plaintiffs received an undisclosed settlement, and he retired from the NYPD with enough service to receive a full pension, said the report.

"Whatever lasting effect his 20 days in the environs of Ground Zero may have had, he was able to start Semper Fi Landscaping company upon his retirement. He was given to wearing a Marine Corps T-shirt," said the report. "A hint of his political orientation came in a Facebook picture of him holding a decorated cake with one of his three children. 'TRUMP 2016,' the icing read."

The criminal complaint against Webster says that just before the beating began, he was yelling at a Capitol Police officer, "You f*cking piece of sh*t. You f*cking Commie motherf*ckers, man ... Come on, take your sh*t off. Take your sh*t off." Webster has turned himself into authorities, but intends to plead not guilty and argue the Capitol Police officer struck him first.

The Capitol riot left five people dead, including Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick. President Donald Trump was impeached and tried in the Senate for his role in inciting insurrection, for which he was narrowly acquitted with over a half dozen Republicans breaking off to rule him guilty.

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