On January 6, 2021, rioters clashed with police trying to break into the Capitol through the front doors.
Lev Radin | Pacific Press | LightRocket | Getty Images
Federal authorities have arrested two New Yorkers – a former New York police officer and a Republican Party official from Queens – for their alleged roles in the deadly January 6 riot at the US Capitol.
Former New York Police Department officer Thomas Webster, who is a retired Marine, is charged with attacking a Capitol Police officer with an aluminum pole while holding a Marine Corps flag, NBC New York reported Tuesday.
A prosecutor said Tuesday that Webster, a married father of three, looked angry on the video, indicating he was “following this cop like a junkyard dog – gritted teeth and clenched fists,” according to NBC.
“These videos shock the conscience,” said the prosecutor during a bail trial in federal court in White Plains, New York. “We think he had a gun in the Capitol and thank God he didn’t fire a shot back then.”
A judge ordered that Webster be arrested without bail because of his potential danger to the public.
Webster, who as a police officer had duties that included guarding the perimeter of City Hall and the Gracie Mansion, the official residence of New York City Mayors, surrendered at the FBI’s Hudson Valley office on Monday, according to NBC.
Webster’s attorney said he was at the Capitol to protest Joe Bide’s election at the behest of then-President Donald Trump, according to NBC.
Attorney James Monroe told the Capitol Police officer that Webster is accused of first attacking Webster.
Webster was featured on an “information search” poster tweeted by the FBI in late January.
The other defendant, Philip Grillo, 46, was arrested Monday afternoon at his girlfriend’s apartment in Queens, New York. Grillo calls himself “The Republican Messiah” on his Facebook page.
Grillo was identified by two tipsters as one of the mobs who invaded the Capitol. They recognized him by a Knights of Columbus jacket, which he was wearing, among other things, according to a fact sheet signed by an FBI agent.
“I’ve seen him twice on CNN in two different incidents,” a witness told the FBI, finding that they knew Grillo from childhood in the Glen Oaks division of Queens.
Grillo, who has been confirmed by the FBI as a member of a council of the Queens Knights of Columbus, is listed as the GOP leader of the Queens Knights of Columbus District’s Republican party group as the GOP leader of the 24th district in Queens.
At the end of 2020, he was denied confirmation as a placeholder candidate in a special election on February 2 for a seat on New York City Council.
Grillo’s efforts to get himself on the ballot and swap another man for the actual candidate for the races – a tactic that is legal – failed after a former Democratic councilor seeking the seat challenged his petition’s signatures .
His Facebook page states that he is a GOP state commissioner in President Trump’s Hometown District.
“I’m really upset,” Grillo’s mother told CNBC when asked to comment on his arrest.
Image included in the statement of fact submitted with the arrest warrant.
The FBI said in the fact sheet that on the day of the rioting in and around the Capitol, a cell phone number registered in the name of Grillo’s mother, who is in her early 70s, was used. She was not charged in the case.
Grillo is expected to appear in the US District Court in Brooklyn on Tuesday.
The statement of fact states that he was among the thousands of rioters who swarmed in and around the Capitol on January 6 after a Trump rally asking his supporters to help him fight against the confirmation of Joe Biden as the winner of the presidential election. On that day, a joint congressional session met to confirm Biden’s victory.
The factual statement states that video footage from the Capitol shows Grillo climbing through a broken window around 2:30 p.m. that day and then holding a megaphone.
Another surveillance video shows Grillo in the rotunda and among rioters trying to enter a room that contains doors that lead outside, “where more protesters have gathered”.
Those doors were ultimately opened by other members of the crowd pushing against Capitol police officers who were trying to keep the doors closed, the document says.
In YouTube footage shot right outside the Capitol, Grillo was seen among a crowd shouting “Fight for Trump”.
“This crowd was involved in a physical confrontation with uniformed officers at the entrance,” the document said. “Grillo was near the crowd. The crowd, including Grillo, was eventually driven back from the door when officers used a chemical irritant.”
The document states that Grillo posted a short video from “Donald J. Trump” ‘s Facebook page on his own page on November 11th.
“Trump’s entry was” WE WILL WIN! “And a short video that says believing in the impossible,” the document says.