by WorldTribune Staff, February 3, 2021
The Capitol Police officer who shot and killed Ashli Babbitt during the Jan. 6 violence at the U.S. Capitol will likely not face any charges.
While the Department of Justice has not made a final decision, initial determinations found that charges against the officer are not justified, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday citing unnamed sources from unidentified agencies.
Babbitt, an Air Force and Air National Guard veteran, died after she was shot by a Capitol Police officer during the Jan. 6 breach of the Capitol. She was unarmed.
Mark Schamel, a lawyer for the officer, said he should be cleared “without question,” adding, “There’s no way to look at the evidence and think he’s anything but a hero.”
The excessive force investigation handled by the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department into Babbitt’s death is not complete, sources first told the Journal, and no formal recommendation had been submitted to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, which would ultimately decide whether to prosecute the officer. The officer has not been named publicly by authorities.
Video showed Babbitt among the crowd trying to breach a barricaded door to the Speaker’s Lobby being guarded by three Capitol Police officers. Lawmakers could be seen through the glass panel on the other side of the door and were able to evacuate just minutes before an officer shot Babbitt, according to reports.
Prosecutors have charged the man who initially recorded the video and posted it online. John Sullivan, a 26-year-old leftist activist and Black Lives Matter supporter was released conditionally on bail, but prosecutors accused him of violating the terms of his release agreement regarding his Internet usage.
Thomas Baranyi, who was in the Capitol when Babbitt was shot, gave a recount of what happened.
A reporter from CBS affiliate WKRG interviewed Baranyi and asked him how he got blood on his hand.
“We had stormed into the chambers inside and there was a young lady who rushed to the windows,” Baranyi answered. “A number of police and Secret Service were saying ‘get back, get down, get out of the way.’ She didn’t heed the call.”
He said that he tried to pull her back when she got fatally shot.
“And as we kind of raced up to grab people and pull them back, they shot her in the neck, and she fell back on me and started to say she was fine. It’s cool. And then she started moving weird and blood was coming out of her mouth and neck and nose,” Baranyi said.
The reporter asked him if he needed first aid, to which he declined.
“I’m not injured. It could have been me, but she went in first. It was one of us.”
Baranyi asked the reporter to make this tragedy known.
“Just make sure people know, because this cannot stand anymore. This is wrong. They don’t represent anyone. Not Republican, Democrat, Independent, nobody. And now they’ll just, they’ll kill people,” Baranyi said.
When asked who he was referring to, Baranyi answered: “Police, congressmen and women, they don’t care. I mean, they think we’re a joke. $2,000 checks was a joke to them. You know, there’s people filming us, laughing at us as we marched down the street at the Department of Justice. There’s a man in the window laughing at us, filming us. And here it was a joke to them until we got inside and then all of a sudden guns came out. But I mean, we’re at a point now, it can’t be allowed to stand. We have to do something, people have to do something, because this could be you or your kids.”