A Hudson Valley man turned himself in after being charged with assaulting a police officer during the riot at the Capitol on January 6.

One of the most sought-after participants of the attack on Washington has been living among us right here in the Hudson Valley for the past month, living with his family and operating a local business.

A manhunt has been underway for participants who were caught on camera committing crimes during the January 6 insurgency. One of the people the FBI has been desperately looking for earned the nickname "The Gouger" after he was seen attacking and apparently gouging out the eyes of a Washington police officer with his thumbs.

Videos of the man show him wielding a metal flagpole that previously had flown a Marine Corps flag during the protest. The flagpole was ultimately used to attack a police officer, who was struck and thrown to the ground. Once on his back, the video shows the officer being straddled by his attacker in an attempt to remove his gas mask. The rioter then appears to use his bare fingers to gouge out the officer's eyes. The video has been widely shared, inspiring the hashtag #eyegouger from people hoping to identify the attacker.

According to the New York Times, the eye gouger has finally come forward and surrendered himself to the FBI. It turns out, the man is Thomas Webster from Orange County.

FBI

Webster lives in Florida, New York with his wife and three children. He's the owner of Semper Fi Landscaping, named after his service in the Marine Corps. That's right, the man who is believed to have brutally attacked a police officer is a former Marine. Not only that, but he's also a retired NYPD officer who once worked security for the mayor at Gracie Mansion.

After turning himself in to officers in White Plains, Webster did not dispute the events captured on video, claiming through his lawyer that he was acting in "self defense." Webster says he traveled to Washington D.C. on January 6 to protest an election that the president led him to believe was unfair. There is no evidence that the 2020 presidential election was illegitimate. In fact, all investigations into the election results have come back to prove that the results were accurate. Webster maintains that he was punched by an officer and then retaliated in self-defense. Prosecutors say there is no video evidence that Webster was ever punched by an officer.

Webster has been charged with six counts relating to the attack, including the "forcible assault of an officer of the United States with a dangerous weapon," which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

Despite his years of military and police service, the judge says he considers Webster a threat to public safety and he is currently being held without bail.

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