Cop who killed Ashli Babbitt was acting ‘lawfully and within Department policy’

An attorney representing the family of Ashli Babbitt on Monday condemned the announcement by the US Capitol Police clearing the unnamed officer who killed the unarmed Trump supporter during the January 6 riot of any wrongdoing. 

Babbitt, 35, was the only person killed during the insurrection when the officer opened fire at a MAGA mob as they stormed through the Rotunda.  

Capitol Police have concluded that the officer acted lawfully and in line with police department policy, and will not face any internal discipline. Officials said they had interviewed multiple witnesses and reviewed video and radio calls as part of the months-long probe. 

‘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 agency stated in a press release. 

The officer is not being named publicly, despite the identities of many other cops involved in fatal shootings being released, including former Brooklyn Center Officer Kim Potter, who was named after the fatal shooting of 20-year-old black motorist Daunte Wright in April and has been charged with second-degree manslaughter.  

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Babbitt has shown her support for former president Donald Trump and reportedly pushed conservative conspiracy theories on social media

Ashli Babbitt, 35, was fatally shot by a Capitol Police officer during the January 6 riot at the Capitol. The officer was exonerated of any wrongdoing on Monday 

The US Capitol Police on Monday announced that the officer who shot and killed January 6 rioter Ashli Babbitt has been cleared of any wrongdoing

The US Capitol Police on Monday announced that the officer who shot and killed January 6 rioter Ashli Babbitt has been cleared of any wrongdoing 

Babbitt was the only person killed after protesters stormed the Capitol on January 6

Babbitt was the only person killed after protesters stormed the Capitol on January 6

Officials said the cop, who is not being named out of concerns for his safety due to threats, ‘potentially saved Members [of Congress] and staff from serious injury and possible death from a large crowd of rioters who forced their way into the U.S. Capitol and to the House Chamber where Members and staff were steps away.’

Terry Roberts, the attorney for the Babbitt family, released a lengthy statement in response to the announcement, picking apart the press release from the US Capitol Police, and demanding that the agency release its findings in full, along with the name of the lieutenant who shot and killed Babbitt. 

‘The press release issued today by the Capitol Police in no way demonstrates that the shooting of Ashli Babbitt was lawful and in compliance with Department Policy,’ wrote Roberts.

The attorney bristled at the claim that the officer ‘potentially saved’ Congress members and staff through his actions.

‘Potentially? One cannot be shot for being potentially a threat,’ Roberts argued. ‘One has to be an imminent threat – a real and immediate threat.’

Terry Roberts, the attorney representing the Babbitt family, condemned the outcome of the internal investigation by the US Capitol Police

Terry Roberts, the attorney representing the Babbitt family, condemned the outcome of the internal investigation by the US Capitol Police 

Roberts went on to point out that Babbitt was not armed, and that there were no members of Congress in close proximity to her.

‘Killing her by shooting her at point-blank range was completely unnecessary,’ he contended. ‘This alone renders the shooting legally unjustified.’

Roberts concluded by demanding that the US Capitol Police identify the officer responsible for Babbitt’s death and release the complete findings of their investigation.

‘It is not enough to say that an officer did nothing wrong without showing how it reached such a conclusion,’ the family’s lawyer wrote. ‘An investigation by the officer’s own police department conducted in secret proves nothing, and certainly is not an “exoneration.”‘

Meanwhile, the officer’s defense attorney, Mark Schamel, applauded the agency’s decision to clear his client and described him as a hero who showed ‘professionalism’ and ‘restraint’ when faced with an angry mob made up of hundreds of ‘extremist’ rioters.  

According to the statement from the Capitol Police, the officer’s actions were consistent with his training and thwarted rioters from accessing the House Chamber after Babbitt and others used flagpoles, helmets and other objects, to shatter a glass door leading to the Speaker’s Lobby, which Capitol Police had barricaded with furniture. 

Babbitt, who was unarmed and was wearing a Trump flag as a cape, tried climbing through one of the doors where the glass was broken out. The officer, inside the Speaker’s Lobby, fired a single round from his service weapon, striking Babbitt in the shoulder, prosecutors said. 

In April, the Department of Justice said it wouldn’t be filing criminal charges against the officer based on insufficient evidence, so the conclusion of the internal probe ends the official investigation.  

The officer’s attorney, Schamel, previously said his client is facing ‘many credible death threats’ and other ‘horrific threats’ and was forced from his home because of them. 

In a statement released on Monday in response to the news of his client’s exoneration, the lawyer wrote in part: ‘this decision by the USCP’s Office of Professional Responsibility to exonerate the Lieutenant, like the decisions of the Department of Justice and United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, is the only correct conclusion following the events of January 6th. Every piece of evidence that is released further validates the Lieutenant’s conduct.’

Schamel further argued that the officer’s ‘heroic’ actions saved lives and helped end the insurrection.  

‘He stopped the final surge of rioters that were mere steps from members of Congress,’ the lawyer wrote. ‘The Lieutenant displayed tremendous restraint in firing just one shot and waiting until the rioters had broken through the barrier and actually entered the controlled area where over 60 members of Congress and their staff were seeking shelter and waiting for evacuation.’ 

Babbitt’s family told The Washington Examiner earlier this month that they plan on filing a $10million wrongful death lawsuit, claiming a plainclothes officer didn’t issue a verbal command.   

Roberts, the family’s lawyer, alluded to a video of the Air Force veteran being shot and said the fact that no one appears to be ducking for cover in the moments before Babbitt was killed also suggests that the cop gave no verbal warning.

Schamel, the cop’s lawyer, denied this in previous interviews and said his client issued multiple verbal commands but that they weren’t audible on the video because the officer was wearing a mask. 

Babbitt served multiple Middle East tours from 2004 to 2016, according to Air Force records. 

She had shown her support for former President Donald Trump and promoted conservative activists and QAnon conspiracy theory movement leaders, NBC News reported.  

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