The Justice Department on Thursday released horrifying new police body camera footage from the January 6 assault on the US Capitol, after CNN and other outlets requested the tapes.
The footage was used in the case against Thomas Webster, a former Marine and retired police officer from the New York City Police Department accused of participating in the Capitol attack.
Prosecutors say that the 56-second tape shows Webster, wearing a red coat among a large crowd of pro-Trump rioters, screaming profanities at officers, threateningly wielding a flagpole, and finally rushing at the officers, who engaged in hand-to-hand combat with him and other members of the mob. One of the officers eventually wrestles away the flagpole, but Webster then tackles the cop to the ground.
In addition to the new video, photos in charging documents show Webster straddling and grabbing at the officer who was wearing the body camera and was thrown to the ground. He has been charged with seven federal crimes, including assaulting police, unlawfully entering Capitol grounds with a dangerous weapon and civil disorder. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
This is the second public disclosure of new footage from the deadly January 6 insurrection, coming after a judge ordered prosecutors to release videos used in Capitol riot court cases.
More than a dozen news outlets, led by CNN, spent months seeking access to videos used in court against Capitol riot defendants. These videos include police body camera footage, surveillance tapes from the Capitol complex, and more. The Justice Department used these clips in dozens of court cases but didn’t publicly release them, as court proceedings have been conducted virtually during the pandemic. Media outlets have struggled to even view these clips.
A federal judge recently decided to force media outlets to seek access to Capitol riot evidence, including video clips, on a case-by-case basis. Other judges are reviewing whether to release videos in additional Capitol riot cases where clips have been used in court against defendants.