Capitol Police officer who shot Ashli Babbitt won’t face ‘internal discipline’ after probe

Unnamed officer ‘will not be facing internal discipline’ after internal probe

Graig Graziosi
Monday 23 August 2021 19:08
GOP lawmaker comforted officer who shot Ashli Babbitt during Capitol riot

The Capitol Police officer who shot and killed Ashli Babbitt during the Capitol riot has been formally exonerated after an internal investigation found the shooting was justified.

In a statement published on 23 August, the Capitol Police said:

“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, including the officer’s own life, or in the defense of any person in immediate danger of serious physical injury.”

The statement added of the unnamed officer: “The officer in this case, who is not being identified for the officer’s safety, will not be facing internal discipline.”

During the 6 January riot, the officer fired on Ms Babbitt while she and other Trump supporters tried to force their way into the internal chambers of the US Capitol, where lawmakers were still being evacuated.

In April, the Justice Department announced that no charges were being brought against the officer. The conclusion of the Capitol Police's internal investigation ends the official inquiries into the shooting.

Video shot during the riot captured the moment Ms Babbitt was shot. In the footage, Ms Babbitt - cloaked in a Trump flag - can be seen attempting to climb through a broken window into an interior chamber of the Capitol. When she’s about midway through the window, and officer can be seen levelling their pistol on Ms Babbitt. A moment later a shot rings out and Ms Babbitt falls backward onto the Capitol floor.

Ms Babbitt was declared dead at a hospital a short time after the shooting.

Republican Congressman Markwayne Mullin witnessed the shooting, and said the officer “didn’t have a choice,” and claimed that the officer “saved people’s lives.”

Witness accounts from immediately before the incident report that protesters were shouting “F*** the Blue” and were rallying to push through into the Capitol’s interior.

Capitol Police officers claim that some of the protesters were carrying concealed weapons on the day of the riot, but a search of Ms Babbitt after the shooting found that she was unarmed at the time of the shooting.

Ms Babbitt, who was a believer in the QAnon conspiracy theory, tweeted the day before the riot that “the storm is here,” referencing a prophecy that Donald Trump, his allies and the military would round up his enemies and members of the “Deep State,” after which they would be tried and executed or imprisoned.

After the shooting, right-wing extremists have hailed Ms Babbitt as a martyr and have demanded that the name of the officer who shot her be released. Ms Babbitt’s family has sued the city of Washington DC demanding the name of the officer.

Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene is among the right-wing voices calling for the officer to be named.

During an interview with Newsmax, Ms Greene likened the shooting of Ms Babbitt to the police killing of George Floyd.

“If this country can demand justice for someone like George Floyd,” she said “then we can certainly demand justice for Ashli Babbitt and everyone deserves to know who killed her ... we need to know who it is.”

She also said that she was “sure” that if she and Ms Babbitt knew each other, they would have been friends. Ms Greene has also previously voiced support for the QAnon conspiracy movement, though she has since rescinded her adherence.

Mr Trump made similar claims, calling the officer who shot Ms Babbitt a “murderer.”

“I spoke to the wonderful mother and husband of Ashli Babbitt, who was murdered at the hands of someone who should have never pulled the trigger of his gun,” Mr Trump said in an email press statement.

Like Ms Greene, he complained that the acceptance of Ms Babbitt’s death was hypocritical, indirectly comparing it to police shootings of Black men in the US.

“If this happened to the ‘other side,’ there would be riots all over America, and yet there are far more people represented by Ashli, who truly loved America, than there are on the other side,” he said.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has called for an end to the calls for the officer to be named.

“Enough is enough. These attacks are disgusting, wrong and a wholly unacceptable way to treat the men and women who went through hell to protect our democracy from armed insurrectionists,” Ms Pelosi’s spokesperson said in an email to Axios.

She also called on House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to rein in his colleagues.

“It’s long overdue for Minority Leader McCarthy to get off of his hands and stand up to the members of his conference and party who have been terrorising the brave officers that saved the lives of countless workers, staff, journalists and Members on January 6th,” she said through her spokesperson. “It is no less than these heroes deserve.”

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