Capitol Police withholds evidence, clears officer who killed Ashli Babbitt

by WorldTribune Staff, August 24, 2021

The officer who shot and killed Ashli Babbitt inside the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6 has been cleared of any wrongdoing by the U.S. Capitol Police.

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

Ashli Babbitt

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

While the Department of Justice and Capitol Police have repeatedly declined to identify the officer involved in the killing, several independent media outlets have identified him as Lt. Mike Byrd.

“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.

The statement 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 at the Capitol on Jan. 6.

“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,” Roberts 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,” Roberts added.

Related: D.C. medical examiner requested cremation for Ashli Babbitt 2 days after receiving body, August 3, 2021

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.

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