Thomas Webster, 56, was charged with an “assault on democracy” and was accused of serving as a law enforcement officer.
Outside the Capitol, Webster grabbed a metal flagpole and waved it, helping the police break the barricade. He then tackled an officer to the ground, who was kicked by other assailants and suffered multiple injuries.
Steven D’Antuono, the FBI assistant director who is trying to bring to justice all those involved in the Capitol storming, says Webster “betrayed fellow law enforcement officers who put their lives on the line to protect the American people.”
In addition to being a former police officer, Webster also served as a Marine in the past. “He took an oath before these professions in which he pledged to defend the Constitution against all enmity at home and abroad,” D’Antuno said.
About 250 people have already been convicted for their part in the storming of the Capitol, but none received as severe a sentence as Webster. Prosecutors sought a 17-year jail sentence against him, but Judge Amit Mehta sentenced him to 10 years.
Mehta saw Webster’s pictures several times during the storm, according to The Washington Post. “It was only after your action that all hell broke loose and people were able to reach the Capitol because of your efforts,” says Mehta. “Your role is big and that environment is important.” Webster was also given a higher sentence by the fact that he prepared the attack and wore bulletproof clothing.
Lawyers for the retired officer said he acted in “self-defense.” Former President Donald Trump is said to have had a “huge influence” as well.
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