January 6 defendant claims self-defense in police assault case 2022-04-28 17:30:10

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Thomas WebsterD., a 56-year-old veteran of the Marine Corps and retired NYPD police officer facing six charges for his actions that day, told a jury Thursday that he was trying to defend himself against a “rogue” cop who assaulted him. First, that he only grabbed the officer’s gas mask after he had engaged the officer so he could “see my hand.”

The defendant said he was originally conflicted about attending a “stop the robbery” rally and found the sermons ineffective, adding that he climbed to the front of the US Capitol after seeing people walking away from casualties, and told a jury he was “programmed” to help in those cases.

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According to Webster, he only dealt with the officer, Noah Rathbone, after Rathbone taunted him for coming across the fence line into a fight and punching him in the head. Webster said the blow was “like being hit with a hammer,” adding that he started seeing stars and was scared.

Webster’s version of the event roughly contradicts Officer Rathbone’s testimony on Wednesday. According to Rathbone, it was Webster who taunted him for the fight, yelling for the officer to “disturb me,” according to Rathbone’s testimony. The officer also says he never punched Webster and “make casual contact with his face” after Webster continued pushing against the iron fence separating the rioters and the police.

After the call, Webster says he rotated the flagpole at the metal fence to fend off Rathbone. “I was seeing stars,” Webster testified.

According to Webster, Rathbone then split the fence. Webster testified as he thought at the time: “He’s coming after me, I’m afraid. He’s gone rogue.”

He then ran into Rathbone and the officer “kind of fell,” Webster said, adding that he “grabbed Rathbone’s ‘gas mask filter’ and pushed it up.”

“I just wanted him to see my hand,” Webster testified. “It was scary… he was resisting.”

It was here that Rathbone testified that he “wasn’t able to breathe” because Webster was pulling his chin strap to his neck.

“He hit me on the ground…and grabbed my helmet and started pulling me,” Rathbone said on Wednesday.

Webster will continue his testimony Friday morning, presided over by Judge Amit Mehta.

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