Licensed to kill? The life and times of U.S. Air Force veteran Ashli Babbitt

Special to WorldTribune, February 4, 2021

The writer is a licensed private investigator and firearms instructor in New York and Virginia for more than 25 years. He is a Certified Protection Professional (CPP), a Personal Protection Specialist (PPS) and the CEO of an executive protection firm.

With the recent reports that the Capitol Police Officer who shot Ashli Babbitt, the unarmed protestor at the capitol on January 6th, may not be charged, I have to wonder if this will provide a “license to kill” for all police officers who are faced with an angry conservative protester?

Ashli Babbitt, right. / Video Image

Yes, that is a strong statement, and I don’t make it lightly nor is it a joke. In fact, it’s not funny at all. I could not be more serious!

A quick recap of the situation: Numerous protestors had entered the Capitol Building at the time of her shooting. More evidence is needed to see exactly how Ms. Babbitt actually entered as there are videos of numerous protesters entering through an open door filing past U.S. Capitol Police officers. Some of the officers reportedly took selfies with some of the protesters who were angry that the Senate was to vote on the electoral votes and had heard that Vice President Mike Pence was going to approve the votes despite there being contested votes from multiple states due to reports of election irregularities.

Ms. Babbitt and a number of other protesters were in a hallway with the doors locked, and were pounding on the door and windows. On the other side of the wall and door were Capitol Police officers and probable other Federal Law Enforcement officers.

Ms. Babbitt was standing yelling at the officers when one of the officers stepped up, took aim and shot Ms. Babbitt in the neck. She fell backwards to the floor mortally wounded. All of this was captured on multiple videos that instantly went viral!

The videos revealed that directly behind Ms. Babbitt were several armed police officers, literally within feet of her. And in the hallway were numerous other protesters, all unarmed. Many were taking videos with their cellphones. So, the officer who fired the shot literally fired a bullet towards numerous people including other police officers.

There are so many questions regarding this situation that must be addressed.

For the record, I am a state approved firearms instructor in multiple states and have been for more than 25 years. As a licensed private investigator in a major city, I have also been licensed to carry a firearm, and therefore am responsible to know and understand the use of force and deadly force which only varies slightly from state to state.

Universally, for anyone to legally use lethal force, both citizens and police officers, one must be in fear of their life from the use of imminent lethal force being used against themselves, or a third party (meaning someone other than themselves).

Were the officers on the other side of the wall in danger of the use of lethal force from Ms. Babbitt? Did they observe that she had a weapon and was capable of using it against them? Did she pose any danger to them at all? Why was it necessary for the officer to use lethal force against Ms. Babbitt?

After the shooting, there have been reports that the officer’s social media page showed a clear bias toward whites and in support of Black Lives Matter. If so, questions of whether the officer used lethal force with prejudice need to be addressed.

Before I saw the video, I believe that the officer must have fired accidentally (unintentional some call it) as numerous pictures surfaced showing police officers holding the firearms with their fingers on the trigger (not a safe practice as anyone who has ever taken a class in the use of firearms knows well).

Subsequently, several videos emerged and one clearly shows the officer stepping forward, aiming, and pulling the trigger intentionally. This was absolutely unbelievable. He moved forward, aimed, and shot an individual on the other side of the wall, who posed no threat of the use of deadly force against himself or of any of the other officers on the side of the wall with himself. Incredible.

What is more disturbing is that this officer’s attorney in noting that no charges should be filed against the officer, said the officer was a hero.

A hero?

An officer shooting an unarmed protester on the other side of a wall, with armed officers several feet behind her, is a hero?

If this officer is not charged for his actions, this would set a precedent that other officers would have a license to kill unarmed citizens of their choosing.

Weigh the officer’s actions against many of the highly publicized events of police shootings recently and compare them to this one. Quite honestly, this is scary for the public and any citizen who has a grievance with the government.