First Responders

Retired NYPD Officer, Marine Veteran Arrested for Crimes at the US Capitol on Jan. 6

February 26, 2021Joshua Skovlund
Capitol attack

Photo courtesy of DOJ court documents and YouTube screengrab. Composite image by Joshua Skovlund/Coffee or Die Magazine

Thomas Webster, a retired New York City Police Department officer and veteran of the US Marine Corps, was arrested Monday on charges related to his actions during the attack on the US Capitol on Jan. 6, according to the Department of Justice. The charges range from assaulting, resisting, or impeding certain officers with a deadly or dangerous weapon to engaging in physical violence in a restricted building or grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapon.

According to court documents entered under Webster’s listing in the DOJ’s Capitol breach cases tracker, he was arrested in the Southern District of New York and had his first appearance in court Tuesday.

Court documents indicate that Webster possibly arrived in the area of the US Capitol on Jan. 5 at 4:32 a.m. EST when a license plate reader identified a vehicle registered to Webster entering the area.  

The next day, at approximately 2:28 p.m., Webster was observed approaching a Metropolitan Police Department officer identified by the DOJ only as “N.R.” Webster approached the gate that N.R. was behind, according to body camera footage reviewed by the DOJ, and yelled, “You fucking piece of shit. You fucking Commie motherfuckers, man . . . Come on, take your shit off. Take your shit off.”

Webster was carrying a US Marine Corps flag on a metal flagpole at the time, and after yelling at N.R., he was observed aggressively pushing the metal gate into N.R. before switching to swinging his flagpole at N.R. and the other officers. N.R. was able to forcefully remove the flagpole from Webster’s grasp. The MPD officer attempted to withdraw farther behind the barricades. Webster then charged N.R. with clenched fists, tackled him to the ground, and assaulted him in an attack that lasted approximately 10 seconds. 

N.R. spoke with investigators and said that during the attack, Webster attempted to rip off N.R.’s gas mask and helmet, consequently choking N.R. and preventing him from breathing during the physical attack. Court documents further state that video evidence accessed through YouTube indicates that Webster proceeded farther onto the Capitol grounds and was seen on the Upper West Terrace of the Capitol building, saying, “Send more patriots. We need some help.”

Webster is among several law enforcement officers, both active and retired, arrested and charged for their actions during the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6. According to CBS News, at least five people who were employed as law enforcement officers at the time have been arrested in connection to the attack, and approximately 275 people have been charged so far.

Joshua Skovlund
Joshua Skovlund

Joshua Skovlund is a former staff writer for Coffee or Die. He has covered the 75th anniversary of D-Day in France, multinational military exercises in Germany, and civil unrest during the 2020 riots in Minneapolis. Born and raised in small-town South Dakota, he grew up playing football and soccer before serving as a forward observer in the US Army. After leaving the service, he worked as a personal trainer while earning his paramedic license. After five years as in paramedicine, he transitioned to a career in multimedia journalism. Joshua is married with two children. His creative outlets include Skovlund Photography and Concentrated Emotion.

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