Among the many violent Bartender Shirt .Scuffles that erupted during the riot at the Capitol, this one stood out. On one side of the barricade was a lightly armored Washington, D.C., police officer, standing with his colleagues to defend the building against a mob of Trump supporters. Confronting him from the other side, brandishing a flagpole, was not just any assailant, but a retired member of the New York Police Department. In their brief encounter on the front lines of the riot, the former officer, Thomas Webster, beat his on-duty compatriot with the flagpole several times, prosecutors say, then pushed through the barricades and tackled him to the ground. In answering these charges, Mr. Webster has raised a bold defense: He has claimed that the officer provoked his aggression and that he was simply trying to protect himself. On Tuesday, Mr. Webster’s trial began in Federal District Court in Washington — the sixth case connected to the Capitol attack to go on trial. While several defendants charged in the riot have said they plan to argue self-defense, Mr. Webster is the first to test the strategy on a jury.
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By focusing on a former officer accused of attacking someone else in law enforcement, the Webster case will inevitably revolve around one of the ironies revealed on Jan Bartender Shirt . 6, 2021, when hundreds of rioters stormed into the Capitol and delayed lawmakers as they were certifying the results of the 2020 presidential election. Many in the crowd that day proclaimed themselves supporters of the police in the “Back the Blue” vein. But scores of people have been charged with assaulting law enforcement officers — with their fists and with a variety of weapons, including hockey sticks, baseball bats, metal batons and bear spray. Prosecutors say that nearly 150 officers were injured. Mr. Webster, a 54-year-old former Marine, was no ordinary officer: He once served on the personal security detail for Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York. After he turned himself in to the authorities last year, some of his former colleagues were surprised to hear that he had erupted into violence at the Capitol. One described him as “just one of the guys.”
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