Internal investigation clears officer who killed Capitol assailant Ashli Babbitt during January 6 uprising
The Capitol Hill police officer who fatally shot pro-Trump extremist Ashli Babbitt while defending the US Capitol on January 6 has been cleared.
Citing a police memo, NBC News reports that the unidentified officer has been fully exonerated by an internal investigation, months after the Justice Department said in April that he would not press charges.
Video shows Babbitt, wearing a Donald Trump flag as a cape, trying to crash through the shattered window of a doorway where elected officials were led away from a far-right mob trying to stop the certification of the election of 2020.
“As members of the crowd continued to bang on the glass doors, Ms. Babbitt attempted to enter one of the doors where the glass was broken,” the DOJ reported. “An officer inside the President’s lobby fired a bullet from his service pistol, striking Ms. Babbitt in the left shoulder, knocking her out of the doorway and onto the floor.”
Thousands of protesters had gathered on Capitol Hill, with many calling for the capture or execution of Vice President Mike Pence, who they believe could prevent Joe Biden from becoming the 46th president.
Babbitt was an Air Force veteran who had become a supporter of the cult QAnon conspiracy collective that believes Trump will be reinstated as president, despite losing the election by more than 7 million votes. The uprising on Capitol Hill began with a “Stop the Steal” rally, where Trump again pushed bogus allegations of voter fraud.
Babbitt’s death has become a rallying cry for far-right extremists who have come to view her as a martyr and demand the name of the officer responsible for shooting her. Trump, who campaigned as a “law and order” candidate, indicated last month that the officer should be singled out.
“Who shot Ashli Babbitt? Trump asked. “People want to know and why.”
The 35-year-old San Diego woman’s husband filed a lawsuit asking for the identity of the cop who killed Babbitt. A lawyer representing the officer called his client’s actions “nothing short of heroic”.
Arizona Republican Representative Paul Gosar called the shooting an execution.
Article by Brian Niemietz, New York Daily News.