The Department of Justice declined to charge the officer who shot and killed U.S. Capitol rioter Ashli Babbitt during the U.S. Capitol siege on Jan. 6th, finding that the officer may have believed self-defense was reasonably necessary to protect members of Congress inside the Speaker’s Lobby.
“The investigation revealed no evidence to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that the officer willfully committed a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 242,” the Justice Department’s statement read. “Specifically, the investigation revealed no evidence to establish that, at the time the officer fired a single shot at Ms. Babbitt, the officer did not reasonably believe that it was necessary to do so in self-defense or in defense of the Members of Congress and others evacuating the House Chamber. Acknowledging the tragic loss of life and offering condolences to Ms. Babbitt’s family, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and U.S. Department of Justice have therefore closed the investigation into this matter.”
The U.S. Attorney’s office press release announcing the closing of the investigation does not name the officer.
“Officials examined video footage posted on social media, statements from the officer involved and other officers and witnesses to the events, physical evidence from the scene of the shooting, and the results of an autopsy,” the press release states. “Based on that investigation, officials determined that there is insufficient evidence to support a criminal prosecution.”
Babbitt’s attorney Terrell N. Roberts, III did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment.
In an earlier press release, Roberts wrote: “It is clear from video footage that Ashli did not pose a danger to the officer, or any other person when she was shot.”
“Ashli was unarmed,” the attorney wrote in a statement sent to Law&Crime last month. “She did not assault anyone. She did not threaten to harm anyone. There was no excuse for taking her life.”
Babbitt was part of a pro-Trump mob that descended upon the Speaker’s Lobby of the House of Representatives, where members of Congress were sheltering inside, and the 14-year Air Force veteran was shot when the group tried to break past the door guarded by officers.
The shooting was caught on video.
The Justice Department’s press release narrates those events.
“The investigation further determined that Ms. Babbitt was among a mob of people that entered the Capitol building and gained access to a hallway outside “Speaker’s Lobby,” which leads to the Chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives. At the time, the USCP was evacuating Members from the Chamber, which the mob was trying to enter from multiple doorways. USCP officers used furniture to barricade a set of glass doors separating the hallway and Speaker’s Lobby to try and stop the mob from entering the Speaker’s Lobby and the Chamber, and three officers positioned themselves between the doors and the mob. Members of the mob attempted to break through the doors by striking them and breaking the glass with their hands, flagpoles, helmets, and other objects. Eventually, the three USCP officers positioned outside the doors were forced to evacuate. As members of the mob continued to strike the glass doors, Ms. Babbitt attempted to climb through one of the doors where glass was broken out. An officer inside the Speaker’s Lobby fired one round from his service pistol, striking Ms. Babbitt in the left shoulder, causing her to fall back from the doorway and onto the floor. A USCP emergency response team, which had begun making its way into the hallway to try and subdue the mob, administered aid to Ms. Babbitt, who was transported to Washington Hospital Center, where she succumbed to her injuries.”
Babbitt, who was 35 years old, retweeted lawyer Lin Wood’s “must be done” list shortly before the siege and was a believer in QAnon, an extremist conspiracy theory that an anti-Trump cabal of child-eating pedophiles is out to destroy former President Donald Trump. She reportedly believed that the day of the Capitol riot was the so-called “storm,” when Trump’s supposed enemies would be identified and punished.
This is a developing story…
[Images via Twitter]
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