…with liberty and justice for some.
It would be hard to argue that the actions of former New York Police Department officer Thomas Webster on January 6 were warranted. It is hard to argue that similar actions by Antifa/BLM rioters were warranted. It is hard to argue that the lack of equal justice for all is warranted. But this is the world in which we live.
Retired 56-year-old police veteran Webster was sentenced to 10 years in prison plus three years supervised release Thursday, the longest sentence so far in the January 6 court trials. He was convicted of five felony charges related to his assault on Metropolitan Police officer Noah Rathbun.
During the assault, Webster reportedly swung the broken pole of a Marine Corp flag that he had carried to the Capitol area at Rathbun, then pulled off Rathbun’s gas mask, exposing him to clouds of tear gas. Webster also reportedly wrestled Rathbun to the ground and held him while others kicked the officer, causing injuries.
Video of the event shows a chaotic melee.
**WARNING: Disturbing content**
(Video: via Daily Mail)
The sentence handed down by U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta was below prosecutors’ sentencing recommendation of 17 years and six months in prison, in deference to Webster’s 25 years of service as a U.S. Marine and a police officer.
Prosecutors, however, said that his background and the fact that he came to the riot wearing body armor showed he was planning for violence, justifying a sentence of 17 years and six months.
Webster testified during the trial, stating that he had acted in self-defense. The jury, however, did not accept that rationale, as video showed Webster apparently initiating or at least greatly escalating the altercation. They took three hours to deliberate before returning their guilty verdicts on all six counts in his indictment.
Although Judge Mehta went below sentencing recommendations, he very directly confronted Webster regarding his actions, according to Daily Mail.
“I still remain shocked every single time I see it [the video]. It’s not until your actions, Mr. Webster, that all hell broke loose. It’s your actions that open up the police line and let people through,” the judge said.
FBI officer Steven D’Antuono noted in a statement:
When he assaulted an officer at the US Capitol that day, Mr. Webster betrayed not only his oath but also his fellow law enforcement officers, who risk their lives every day to protect the American people.
As a former police officer and US Marine who took an oath to defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic, Thomas Webster knew the severity of his actions on January 6th.
Webster was the first January 6 defendant to face felony charges of assaulting an officer who decided to go to trial. The twelve other such defendants pleaded guilty. Previously the longest sentence a rioter received was 7 years, and Judge Mehta cited this in his decision to reject the prosecutor’s sentencing recommendation.
Webster was not immediately taken into custody, although it appeared he may have expected to be taken away immediately, as he reportedly carried a change of clothes with him.
Webster, a married father of three apologized in the courtroom to Rathbun, also stating: “I wish the horrible events of that day had never happened,” according to Daily Mail.
“I too wish you hadn’t come to Washington, D.C.,” Mehta reportedly responded. “I too wish you had stayed at home in New York … that you had not come out to the Capitol that day, because all of us would be far better off. Not just you … your family … the country.”
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