Lawsuit will shine a light on the cover up that followed the killing of Ashli Babbitt on January 6

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By Bill Juneau, March 16, 2024

Although the story seems to have been buried by the Democratic Party-controlled media, the Judicial Watch organization recently filed a $30 million lawsuit against the U.S. Government on behalf of the family of Ashli Babbitt, who was shot and killed by a Capitol police lieutenant on January 6, 2021.

Judicial Watch is well-known as a conservative and bipartisan watchdog organization which insists on transparency, and integrity from government officials. The group frequently calls upon the courts to enforce constitutional laws and to right obvious wrongs.

Ashli Babbitt

Ashli was an unarmed Air Force veteran who was shot and killed by Police Lieutenant Michael Byrd inside the capitol during the disorder by supporters of former President Trump. The suit has been filed in Federal District Court in California with claims for Babbitt’s wrongful death and for assault, battery and the negligent behavior of police.

Related: Watchdog says FBI refusing to turn over files on Ashli Babbitt, February 4, 2024

The incident prompted the Biden Department of Justice and the FBI under Director Christopher Wray to do their best to mitigate all comment about the shooting. For eight months, authorities declined to even identify the shooter of the woman and said only that a capitol policeman had simply done his duty in the face of the so called “insurrection,” and needed to be protected from undeserved scorn and ridicule for “just doing his job as he was trained to do.”

In August following the shooting, Byrd appeared on the Lester Holt TV show and was interviewed and said that “I followed my training, and I spent countless years preparing for such a moment.” At that moment, he stated, Babbitt “was posing a threat” to lawmakers in the House Chamber.

The shooting had overtones which contradicted a liberal attitude that racist white policemen are bigoted and prone to kill black men for little or no reasons.

Lt. Byrd, 55, is black, and has been a capitol policeman for about 30 years. Ashli Babbitt was a 35-year-old white woman who had served her country honorably in the Air Force, and the incident of a black cop shooting a white, unarmed woman is contrary to the Democrat and mainstreeting media stories of how racism against blacks runs rampant in American police departments.

The belief that all white cops are looking for innocent black men to shoot was given national credence after George Floyd, a hardened black ex-convict with a lengthy police rap sheet, died while being arrested by a white Minneapolis patrolman in the spring of 2020.

This Ashli Babbitt killing does not fit the left wing narrative, and consequently, it was, and still is, being hushed up and kept in a darkened closet where embarrassing faux pas committed by Democrats get stashed away and left to wither and die without public awareness and fallout.

Ashli had traveled alone to Washington, D.C. from the west coast because she “loved her country and wanted to show her support for President Trump,” the suit states. “She was there to exercise what she believed were her God-given, American liberties and freedoms.

Approximately 1,000 participants in the Capitol disorder have been arrested, tried and jailed for their participation and alleged violence on January 6, but none was every charged with carrying a weapon or being an insurrectionist.

Byrd has a record of miscues and service violations as a policeman, but was never disciplined or fully investigated for the fatal shooting of Ashli Babbitt which was the only incident of gun violence in the melee of January 6.

According to the lawsuit, Ashli and others had been directed by a woman police officer to walk toward the House side. Ashli arrived at a hallway outside the Speakers lobby where two individuals had dislodged glass panels in lobby doors. Lt. Byrd, commanding the police unit on hand, shot Ashli on sight as she raised herself up into the opening of the broken door. the lawsuit charges.

Byrd has said that he shot Ashli, the lawsuit contended, without ever seeing her hands or assessing her intentions or after even identifying her as a woman. She was “ambushed” and “had posed no threat to anyone,” the suit has charged. Multiple persons who witnessed the shooting by Byrd, who was not in uniform and never identified himself as a policeman, screamed at Byrd—“you just murdered her,” the lawsuit said.

Witnesses have said that Ashli never even saw Byrd; and the lawsuit stated that the plain clothed officer never gave her any warnings or commands before shooting her dead with his Glock pistol. The medical examiner later determined that the manner of Ashli Babbitt’s death was “homicide.”

The suit further alleged that Byrd had a service record of being reckless with his Glock 22 pistol and that Congress and his superiors “knew or should have known that Byrd was prone to behave in a dangerous or otherwise incompetent manner.”

On one occasion, the airy-headed Byrd had left his loaded Glock on a bathroom counter in the Capitol Visitor Center complex (CVC). It was found during a routine security sweep later the same day by another officer. Reportedly, 15,000 to 20,000 people pass through the CVC center each day during the warm months. Reportedly Byrd apologized for his negligence, but was never disciplined.

Byrd, who reportedly has been promoted to captain, had his police powers revoked for brief periods on more than one occasion prior to January 6 for failing to meet firearm qualifications, the suit charged. Byrd reportedly had a reputation among peers for not being a “good shot.”

On another occasion, Lt. Byrd’s car was stolen and Byrd fired multiple shots into the fleeing vehicle in a suburban area. Stray bullets struck the side of homes nearby, and a subsequent investigation found that his use of force was not justified. His firearm privileges reportedly were revoked for a period as a disciplinary measure.

Ashli Babbitt was 35 years old and resided with her husband, Aaron, in San Diego, California. Together, they operated a successful pool business.

Ashli had traveled alone to Washington, D.C. from the west coast because she “loved her country and wanted to show her support for President Trump,” the suit states. “She was there to exercise what she believed were her God-given, American liberties and freedoms.

The wrongful death lawsuit, with depositions and discovery, could well open up the behind-the-scenes maneuvering to shield the full and factual story of the Ashli Babbitt shooting.

Bill Juneau worked for 25 years as a reporter and night city editor at the Chicago Tribune. Subsequently he became a partner in a law firm and also served as a village prosecutor and as a consultant to the Cook County Circuit Court and to the Cook County Medical Examiner. He is currently writing columns and the ‘Florida Bill‘ blog.