Police ‘Blocked Out’ Trauma of Jan. 6 Attack, MPD Detective Testified

  • A Metro Police detective testified that officers blocked out the “traumatic” occasions of the Capitol riot.
  • The testimony got here within the trial of a retired New York cop charged with assaulting an MPD officer on January 6, 2021.
  • The accused ex-cop claims he assaulted the Metro police officer in self-defense.

Within the fast aftermath of January 6, 2021, investigators noticed a phenomenon: cops who responded to the day’s violence on the Capitol couldn’t at all times keep in mind the assaults they suffered by the hands of a pro-Trump mob.

However as he reviewed hours of body-worn digicam footage, Metropolitan Police Detective Jonathan Lauderdale may see every little thing — the shouts, the shoves, the punches, the profanity.

“Reviewing that time and again was traumatic,” Lauderdale mentioned Tuesday, recalling the “full chaos” of January 6, 2021, on the newest jury trial linked to the Capitol siege.

“The quantity of body-worn digicam footage I reviewed … If I may overlook that, I might,” he added.

Lauderdale took the stand on the primary day of testimony within the trial of Thomas Webster, a retired New York Metropolis police officer and former Marine charged with attacking a Washington, DC, police officer on January 6, 2021.

The testimony underscored how video footage — recorded by police and, in some instances, accused Capitol rioters themselves — has performed a essential position within the practically 800 prosecutions stemming from the January 6 assault on the Capitol.

Webster argued that he acted in self-defense after being struck within the face by Metropolitan Police Officer Noah Rathbun, whom Webster is accused of hitting with a flag pole — bearing the Marine Corps flag — and later tackling to the bottom and choking.

A former Marine himself, Lauderdale testified Tuesday that he was not stunned that Rathbun couldn’t initially keep in mind his violent encounter with Webster outdoors the Capitol. Rathbun’s body-worn digicam captured the second on January 6, 2021, when Webster started shouting at him from throughout a motorbike fence, then slammed his flag pole in opposition to the metallic barrier earlier than charging at Rathbun.

Lauderdale on Tuesday testified that he reviewed the officer’s body-worn digicam footage after Rathbun reported an damage suffered throughout an apparently associated incident contained in the Capitol rotunda on January 6. Requested whether or not he was stunned that Rathbun didn’t initially recall his encounter with Webster, Lauderdale mentioned: “No, it did not appear unusual.”

“It did not appear unusual in any respect. It was comprehensible,” Lauderdale testified. Referring to officers who guarded the Capitol on January 6, he mentioned, “Both they blocked it out or had no recollection” of violence they skilled.

With Lauderdale’s testimony, federal prosecutors sought to move off Webster’s argument that he acted in self-defense after being struck within the head by Rathbun. On Wednesday, Rathbun is predicted to take the stand, and Webster’s protection lawyer is planning to show video footage exhibiting Webster push the metallic fencing into the police officer earlier than being struck within the face.


Prosecutors acknowledged Tuesday that Rathbun at one level struck Webster with an open hand, however in his testimony Tuesday, Lauderdale mentioned the officer was “making an attempt to create distance” after Webster pushed the bike rack into him.

Lauderdale mentioned the digicam footage confirmed Webster calling Rathbun a “piece of shit” earlier than pushing the bike rack into him and slamming his flag pole a number of instances into the metallic barrier.

“He was clearly aggressive,” Lauderdale mentioned, including that he was impressed that Rathbun opted to indicate restraint by disarming Webster — taking away his flag pole — relatively than utilizing pepper spray or his baton.

Webster then breaches the metallic barrier and “bullrushes” him together with his fists raised, Lauderdale mentioned, narrating the body-worn digicam footage for the jurors.

As soon as on the bottom, Webster tried to forcibly take away his helmet and facemask, prosecutors mentioned. In an FBI interview, Rathbun mentioned he was unable to breathe throughout the assault as a result of Webster was choking him together with his helmet’s chin strap.

Lauderdale on Tuesday testified that Webster was “actively choking” the Metro police officer.

“He was being choked out,” the detective testified. 

In an interview with the FBI, Webster characterised him grabbing of the police officer’s helmet and face masks as “a hockey kind of transfer kind factor the place you do not wish to struggle any individual.” Webster’s protection lawyer James Monroe superior the self-defense argument in his questioning of Lauderdale, suggesting that Rathbun had made “hand gestures to ask Mr. Webster to struggle with him.”

When the protection lawyer raised how Rathbun had not reported his altercation with Webster, Lauderdale reiterated that he didn’t discover the oversight uncommon.

“Lots of people forgot stuff as a result of chaos there,” Lauderdale mentioned.

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