A U.S. Capitol rioter says he attacked a police officer during the Jan. 6 insurrection because the officer made fun of the Donald Trump supporters violently storming the building.
Newly released video shows 54-year-old Thomas Webster, a Marine Corps veteran and former New York City police officer, screaming profanities at officers and striking at least one of them with a flagpole before tackling the officer, but his defense attorneys intend to blame the victim for the attack, reported MSNBC's Scott MacFarlane.
"Showing little regard for the peaceful protesters present, Officer N.R. can be seen reaching over the metal barrier and pushing a peaceful male protester wearing a maroon sweatshirt who was blinded by pepper spray," a court filing says. "Officer N.R. can also be observed mocking several protesters who were complaining about this Officer's excessive use of force."
Webster's attorneys will make the claims in court Friday as they seek his release from jail while awaiting trial on seven federal charges, including assaulting police, unlawfully entering Capitol grounds with a dangerous weapon and engaging in physical violence.
"He's going to argue that the officer is responsible, that the officer was mocking the protesters, that the officer charged peaceful protesters into un-peaceful protesters by using chemical spray and that he was making provocative hand gestures," MacFarlane told "Morning Joe." "We look back into Thomas Webster's FBI file. He's not only a former NYPD police officer, he worked the City Hall beat during the [Rudy] Giuliani administration, from 1992 through 2011."