Sears and KMart pull T-shirts calling Ashli Babbitt an American hero

Air Force veteran was shot and killed by a police officer while storming the US Capitol during 6 January’s insurrection

Oliver O'Connell
New York
Wednesday 07 July 2021 22:56 BST
Sears, Kmart sold shirts that said, 'Ashli Babbitt American Patriot'

Retailers Sears and Kmart have pulled a T-shirt from their websites that called Ashli Babbitt, the woman shot and killed by a police officer during the 6 January US Capitol riot, an “American Patriot”.

A screenshot of the black T-shirt, featuring a monochrome American flag, was posted to Twitter by Vox journalist Aaron Rupar with links to the product pages on the respective brand websites.

Ms Babbitt, an Air Force veteran, Trump supporter, and alleged QAnon conspiracy theorist, was shot dead while attempting to climb through the broken glass of a barricaded door leading to the Speaker’s Lobby in the Capitol as pro-Trump rioters stormed the building.

A few hours after Mr Rupar’s tweet highlighting the product, the official Sears Twitter account responded thanking him for bringing the product to the company’s attention and saying that “this item is no longer available for purchase”.

Both Sears and Kmart are owned by the same parent company, Transformco. It is unclear how long the shirt had been for sale but it may have come from a third-party company permitted to use the retailers’ platform to sell merchandise.

The Independent has asked Transformco for comment.

Links to the product on both sites now bring up an error page saying that it may no longer be available or has been removed.

The shooting of Ms Babbitt was captured in graphic footage at the height of the chaos during the 6 January insurrection as rioters attempted to disrupt Congress confirming the election result formally naming Joe Biden as the next US president.

She was one of several people to die during, and in the immediate aftermath of, the assault on the Capitol. Dozens of others were injured.

On Wednesday when former president Donald Trump was asked at a press conference about what he did on 6 January to stop the rioting, he deflected saying those involved were being treated unfairly and brought up the fact that the identity of the officer who shot Ms Babbitt has not been publicly revealed.

Ms Babbitt’s death has been politicised by others, including Representative Paul Gosar of Arizona who was condemned after saying that she had been “executed” by the police.

Mr Trump and other Republicans have joined the family of Ms Babbitt in calling for the name of the officer who shot her to be made public.

In April, the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia said that it would not pursue criminal charges against the officer, who is not identifiable in the footage.

However, the Babbitt family has filed a lawsuit in Washington DC’s Superior Court seeking the officer’s records, footage of the incident, and documents and witness statements obtained by the police during their investigation.

Mr Rupar’s tweet flagging the shirt came on the six-month anniversary of the violent assault on the Capitol.

Since then, more than 535 individuals in almost every state have been charged with crimes relating to their alleged actions during the insurrection.

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