Internal documents from DC Metropolitan Police, obtained through a FOIA lawsuit by the conservative group Judicial Watch, show witness accounts indicating Ashli Babbitt was unarmed when she tried climbing into the House chambers.
Babbitt took part in the riot at the Capitol on January 6th, attempting to climb through broken glass into the chamber. A total of five people died that day, but only Babbitt was killed.
The documents show witnesses had not seen Babbitt holding a weapon and provide conflicting reports as to whether she was verbally warned before being fired upon by Capitol Police officer Lieutenant Michael Byrd.
The document cache prompted Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton to declare there was “no good reason” to shoot Babbitt.
Judicial Watch announced that it received 532 pages of documents from the DC Metropolitan Police about the shooting death of Ashli Babbitt on January 6, 2021, in the U.S. Capitol Building. READ: https://t.co/t5WEH4ydwy pic.twitter.com/bwXbGDheXE
— Judicial Watch ⚖️ (@JudicialWatch) October 18, 2021
Ashli Babbitt Unarmed
Ashli Babbitt, an Air Force veteran and avid supporter of former President Donald Trump, seemed to be unarmed based on video of the incident circulating online after January 6th.
These documents further that argument.
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One witness account contained in an Internal Affairs Division report, from a Capitol Police sergeant, states “He did not see anything in the female protester’s hands prior to the gunshot.”
Another report involving an interview with a separate Capitol Police officer yielded statements indicating, “He did not see Ms. McEntee [Babbitt] in possession of any potential weapons” and “He reiterated that he did not observe that she was armed.”
And yet another witness claims they did not see a weapon in Babbitt’s hands before hearing a gunshot, though investigators “recovered ‘a para force’ folding knife in Ms. Babbitt’s pants pocket.”
Lt. Michael Byrd would have been charged for manslaughter — if not murder — had he shot Ashli Babbitt in Texas.
She was unarmed and presented no threat to herself or the officer.
— Congressman Troy Nehls (@RepTroyNehls) October 13, 2021
There were conflicting reports as to whether or not Ashli Babbitt had been given verbal warnings regarding her actions prior to Officer Michael Byrd firing.
One report indicated a Capitol Police officer stated, “He did not hear any verbal commands” before Babbitt was shot, but a man who “reached out” to the Metro PD said he heard Byrd shout “loud verbal commands” that he would “shoot” before firing.
That same man who said he heard verbal commands also stated Byrd had fired twice rather than once.
House GOP so pathetic they didn’t even demand a hearing on the Ashli Babbitt murder
— Jack Posobiec 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) October 16, 2021
No Good Reason To Shoot Babbitt?
Analysis of the documents and witness accounts led Fitton to surmise that Officer Michael Byrd didn’t have proper justification to fire at Ashli Babbitt, even as she attempted to breach the chamber.
“These previously secret records show there was no good reason to shoot and kill Ashli Babbitt,” stated Fitton.
“The Biden-Garland Justice Department and the Pelosi Congress have much to answer for the over the mishandling and cover-up of this scandalous killing of an American citizen by the U.S. Capitol Police,” he added.
“He has also increasingly aligned himself with those who took part in the Capitol attack, recording a video this month to wish happy birthday to Ashli Babbitt, the rioter fatally shot by police. Trump called her ‘a truly incredible person’…” https://t.co/VEwuuK9qrO
— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) October 17, 2021
Byrd still may have been able to claim justification for the shooting based on the threat level. One doesn’t have to be armed in order to be a threat to the lives of those around them.
And, in fact, the officer had been cleared months ago of criminal wrongdoing and was cleared internally by the Capitol Police Department in August.
The internal review “determined the officer’s conduct was lawful and within Department policy,” according to a statement by Capitol Police.
Byrd has consistently defended his actions saying he “(knew) members of Congress, as well as my fellow officers and staff, were in jeopardy and in serious danger.”
He would also suggest his actions “saved countless lives” by protecting lawmakers against the rioters and described the threats that day as “frightening.”
Lt. Michael Byrd, who shot Trump supporter Ashli Babbitt during the Capitol riot, says he has been in hiding for months after he received a flood of death threats and racist attacks.
“I believe I showed the utmost courage on Jan. 6 and it’s time for me to do that now” pic.twitter.com/2kaAxy8yGc
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) August 26, 2021
Republican congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK) defended Officer Byrd prior to his name being released as taking appropriate action.
“He [Byrd] was the last person in the world whoever wanted to use force like that and he wasn’t prone to do that,” Mullin said in an appearance on a C-Span show called January 6 Views From the House.
The GOP Rep. explained that he even had to comfort the officer after the shooting.
“I know for a fact because after it happened, he came over. He was physically and emotionally distraught,” explained Mullin. “I actually gave him a hug and said, ‘Sir, you did what you had to do.'”
.@RepMullin on police officer who fatally shot woman in Capitol on January 6th: “After it happened, he came over. He was physically and emotionally distraught. I actually gave him a hug and I said, ‘sir, you did what you had to do.'” pic.twitter.com/qSwZgilMS7
— CSPAN (@cspan) July 23, 2021
The documents obtained by Judicial Watch back up claims that Byrd was upset over what had taken place.
“His eyes were red,” a sergeant explained. “He was, you could see he was visibly upset and he just, you know, kind of comfort him and told him, you know, we gotta get outta here.”
Babbitt’s family lawyer has argued that she was “not an imminent threat of death or serious injury to anyone.”
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