- The Washington Times
Friday, August 27, 2021

The widower of Ashli Babbitt said the U.S. Capitol Police officer who shot his wife should “suck it up” and deal with the violent and racist threats he has been receiving since the deadly Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol.

Aaron Babbitt also said in a series of TV interviews Thursday night that he cannot sympathize with Capitol Police Lt. Michael Byrd and said he has been receiving frequent threats as well.

“I don’t even want to hear him talk about how he‘s getting death threats and he‘s scared. I’ve been getting death threats since Jan. 7 — two, three, five, 10 a day — and all I did on Jan. 6 was become a widower. So, you’re going to have to suck it up, bud, and take it,” Mr. Babbitt said on Fox News.

“I’ve had death threats and the most hateful crap thrown at me every single day, sometimes five or 10 a day, so I don’t have sympathy in that aspect,” Mr. Babbitt said in another interview on Newsmax.

The interviews aired shortly after NBC News showed a segment in which Mr. Byrd revealed himself to be the police officer responsible for fatally shooting Babbitt during the Capitol riot.

Babbitt was shot and killed as she attempted to climb through a freshly broken window on a partition separating riotous supporters of former President Trump from U.S. Capitol Police and members of Congress.

The identity of the officer who shot her had not been made public before Mr. Byrd came forward on Thursday, although some had speculated online that he was the one responsible.

Mr. Byrd described to NBC News some of the threats he said he has received while his name was tossed around on the internet in recent months.

“They talked about, you know, killing me, cutting off my head. You know, very vicious and cruel things,” said Mr. Byrd, adding there have been some racist attacks as well.

“It’s all disheartening because I know I was doing my job,” Mr. Byrd added.

An investigation conducted by Capitol Police cleared the officer of any wrongdoing, and the Department of Justice separately found insufficient evidence to support charging him criminally.

“The actions of the officer in this case potentially saved members and staff from serious injury and possible death from a large crowd of rioters who forced their way into the U.S. Capitol and to the House Chamber where members and staff were steps away,” Capitol Police said when the agency cleared him in April.

Babbitt, a 35-year-old Air Force veteran and supporter of Mr. Trump, was the only person shot by police during the riot.

The Justice Department has charged more than 500 people in connection with the attack.

Babbitt‘s family previously indicated it may pursue a civil lawsuit against Mr. Byrd

Scores of police officers were injured during the riot at the Capitol, which happened as Congress met to recognize President Biden’s victory over Mr. Trump in the 2020 election, briefly disrupting the democratic process. Several officers died in the days afterward.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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