- The Washington Times
Monday, August 23, 2021

The U.S. Capitol Police announced Monday that an internal probe cleared the officer of any wrongdoing for fatally shooting Ashli Babbitt during the Jan. 6 pro-Trump riot.

The police agency said the officer was justified in shooting Babbitt outside the House chamber.

“After interviewing multiple witnesses and reviewing all the available evidence, including video and radio calls, the United States Capitol Police has completed the internal investigation into the fatal shooting of Ms. Ashli Babbitt, which occurred in the Speaker’s Lobby on January 6,” Capitol Police said in a statement.

It continued, “USCP’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) determined the officer’s conduct was lawful and within Department policy, which says an officer may use deadly force only when the officer reasonably believes that action is in the defense of human life.”

Babbitt, 35, was the only violent death suffered during the riot at the Capitol, though four other people died of medical conditions such as strokes and heart attacks.

Authorities still have not identified the officer who shot Babbitt.

Terrell Roberts, a Maryland-based attorney representing Babbitt’s family, demanded Capitol Police make public the details of its investigation.

“The press release issued by the Capitol Police provides nothing new. It is purely conclusory and fails to show a legal justification for shooting Ashli Babbitt. The universal standard in police work is that an individual must present an imminent threat of death or serious injury before deadly force can be used against that person. This clearly was not the case,” he told The Washington Times.

“A fanciful claim that she presented a ‘potential’ threat is insufficient to justify the use of deadly force. Again, I call for the release of the investigative findings that the Capitol Police claims justified killing Babbitt. They don’t exist,” Mr. Roberts added.

The Capitol Police investigation is likely the last word on the shooting.

In June, the Babbitt family sued the city of Washington to obtain the identity of the officer who shot her and video footage of the shooting. They are also seeking documents and witness statements from the Metropolitan Police Department, which investigated the incident.

The lawsuit was filed in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. It comes after Babbitt’s husband made a request for the records to the police department but did not receive a response.

Federal prosecutors cleared the officer who killed Babbitt from any criminal wrongdoing in the shooting earlier this year. They reasoned the officer acted in self-defense and did not identify the officer.

Babbitt, an Air Force veteran who was a Trump supporter, unlawfully entered the Capitol on Jan. 6 with hundreds of others to protest the certification of the 2020 election results.

As she attempted to crawl through a broken glass window to enter the House chamber, she was shot in the shoulder, according to the Justice Department.

She was taken to Washington Hospital Center where she later died.

Mr. Roberts, the family attorney, previously told The Washington Times that he plans to sue the Capitol Police under the Federal Tort Claims Act, which generally requires a notice of six months before filing a lawsuit. The family will also pursue claims against the officer who shot Babbitt.

The Justice Department and Capitol Police have repeatedly declined to identify the officer involved in the killing.

In April, the Justice Department closed the probe into the shooting of Babbitt, saying the officer did not act unreasonably.

“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,” the DOJ said at the time.

• Alex Swoyer can be reached at aswoyer@washingtontimes.com.

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