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D.C. officer says ‘rage’ of former New York officer on Jan. 6 ‘put me in fear of my life’

A D.C. police officer on Tuesday recalled fearing for his life when he was attacked outside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 by a man using his fists and a flagpole. The officer also expressed the dismay he later felt on learning that the man charged with assaulting him is a former police officer and military veteran, Thomas Webster.

“Mr. Webster trained for years to show restraint in times of chaos, ensure public safety and protect public order,” the officer wrote in a statement read aloud by Assistant U.S. Attorney Hava Mirell during a hearing in U.S. District Court in Washington. “He deliberately chose to dishonor himself, as well as fellow former service officers, motivated by what we now know was political ignorance.”

Webster, 55, served in the U.S. Marine Corps and spent 20 years in the New York Police Department, according to court filings. He has been detained since his arrest in February, one of about 50 defendants jailed pending trial of the roughly 500 accused of participating in the riot at the Capitol.

U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta on Tuesday released Webster to home confinement — despite describing video of his actions as “some of the worst behavior, some of the most assaultive conduct that I’ve seen.”

A brief portion of that video has been released publicly. In it, a man prosecutors said is Webster is seen shouting profanities at officers, then striking one with a metal pole flying a Marine Corps flag and tackling that officer to the ground.

Webster faces seven federal charges, including assaulting police and taking a dangerous weapon onto the Capitol grounds.

The officer, identified in documents only as N.R., described himself as a former foreman in the U.S. Navy and said he had read that Webster served in the Marines and with the New York City police.

“I’m in shock, and deeply disappointed, that an individual that served in those honorable professions would . . . put me in fear of my life,” he wrote.

The officer described walking into “a toxic and chaotic environment” on the west side of the Capitol, where he was hit with curses and chemical spray. Webster, he said, charged the metal barricades separating police from protesters.

“His fists were clenched,” the officer wrote. “He pushed me to the ground and tried to violently tear away my gas mask and helmet.” He recalled seeing “the rage in Mr. Webster’s face” as he was choked by the strap of his own protective gear.

The officer said he was rescued by others in the crowd; had he not been, he said, the assault “could have easily have left my wife and two small children without a husband and father.”

Other officers injured in the riot, among nearly 140 who officials say were assaulted, have been lobbying Republican members of Congress to publicly acknowledge the seriousness and brutality of the attack they experienced.

Officer who protected Capitol says GOP lawmaker refused to shake his hand

According to the Associated Press, on Friday, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, (R-Calif.) told the officers he would raise their concerns privately with members of his caucus. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced a day earlier that she was creating a special committee to investigate the attack that left five dead.

In an FBI interview released by his defense, Webster says he “feels bad” about calling the officer “a traitor.” Webster, according to the interview, described the altercation as a “barroom type of moment.”

But in the interview and court filings, Webster argued that the D.C. officer had punched him first in the face, pushed another protester and taunted the crowd.

The officer “does not exhibit the same level of restraint” as other law enforcement present, Webster’s attorney wrote the judge.

Mehta said in court Tuesday that he had watched the video of the encounter multiple times and saw no evidence of a punch or any other conduct by the D.C. officer that would justify the attack.

“The video does not lie,” he said. “Mr. Webster attacked a police officer who was doing his job . . . a job that Mr. Webster himself did, for years.”

Nevertheless, Mehta said there was no evidence Webster was still a danger or a flight risk. He had never been to a political protest before Jan. 6, did not plan to breach the Capitol building and did not have ties to any extremist group, according to his defense attorney. Mehta said Webster could await trial at his home in Orange County, N.Y., with strict control of his movements and use of electronic devices.

Officer N.R. “should not view this decision as undermining his valor,” Mehta said. The judge told Webster that he was “mystified” by his conduct — “for the obvious reason you were a police officer, and you should have known better.”

Spencer S. Hsu contributed to this report.

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The Jan. 6 insurrection

The report: The Jan. 6 committee released its final report, marking the culmination of an 18-month investigation into the violent insurrection. Read The Post’s analysis about the committee’s new findings and conclusions.

The final hearing: The House committee investigating the attack on the U.S. Capitol held its final public meeting where members referred four criminal charges against former president Donald Trump and others to the Justice Department. Here’s what the criminal referrals mean.

The riot: On Jan. 6, 2021, a pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to stop the certification of the 2020 election results. Five people died on that day or in the immediate aftermath, and 140 police officers were assaulted.

Inside the siege: During the rampage, rioters came perilously close to penetrating the inner sanctums of the building while lawmakers were still there, including former vice president Mike Pence. The Washington Post examined text messages, photos and videos to create a video timeline of what happened on Jan. 6. Here’s what we know about what Trump did on Jan. 6.