Ashli Babbitt's family sues DC police for identity of cop who fatally shot her
The lawsuit comes after the Department of Justice announced in May that no criminal charges will be pursued against the officer responsible
WASHINGTON, DC: US Capitol rioter Ashli Babbitt's family has filed a civil lawsuit against Washington, DC, to obtain police records of the officer who fatally shot her during the January siege. Babbitt was among the many MAGA and Trump supporters who stormed the Capitol building to halt the ratification of Joe Biden's win in the November 6 presidential election.
The siege was led by QAnon supporters who believed ex-president Donald Trump's unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud and Babbitt was among the crowd that caused massive destruction of property and left many injured and several arrested. A bystander's video shows Babbitt trying to break through glass panes to enter a hallway leading to the Speaker's Lobby, when a Capitol police officer fires one round of shot, that fatally hits her on the shoulder. It has since been reported that a police officer shot and killed Babbitt, but their identity hasn't been revealed. The Department of Justice also announced in May that no criminal charges will be pursued against the Capitol officer who shot Babbitt, and just a week ago, the veteran's family filed the lawsuit demanding all information available on the January 6 shooting.
The Department of Justice revealed in their report of the investigation that Babbitt was part of a crowd of protestors who had managed to breach a hallway outside the Speaker's Lobby that leads directly to the House chamber inside the Capitol building. Babbitt had allegedly tried to enter through a broken glass window of a door that separated the hallways from the lobby, while others tried to break through doors "by striking them and breaking the glass with their hands, flagpoles, helmets and other objects," reveals the investigation report.
This is when one of the officers fired a single shot from his service pistol and the bullet hit Babbit in her left shoulder, causing her to fall backward on the floor. After an emergency medical team was deployed, Babbitt was taken to the Washington Hospital Center, where she was pronounced dead. Babbitt was a 35-year-old Air Force veteran. And now, her family's lawsuit filed in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, demands the Metropolitan Police Department to hand over all video footage of Babbitt's shooting.
Filed just a week ago, the lawsuit sees Babbitt's family also demanding all witness statements and documents from the department's initial investigation of the shooting, while planning a separate $10 million lawsuit for wrongful death. According to documents obtained by CNBC, Babbitt's husband filed a Freedom of Information Act request for all records from the Metropolitan Police. The husband claims the department failed to comply with their May 12 deadline and neither provided him with any records nor did they notify whether he would be granted access to them. According to the family's attorney Terrell Roberts, the lawsuit aims at uncovering all information about the shooting and the subsequent investigation into it, reports CNBC.
The investigation had been conducted by the Metropolitan Police Department's Internal Affairs Division along with two other civil rights offices from the US Attorney's Office. They went through video footage posted to social media, as well as Babbitt's autopsy report and the shooting officer's statement along with those of others present at the time on the scene. "Based on that investigation, officials determined that there is insufficient evidence to support a criminal prosecution," the Department of Justice concluded in mid-April. They added: "Specifically, the investigation revealed no evidence to establish that, at the time the officer fired a single shot at Ms. Babbitt, the officer did not reasonably believe that it was necessary to do so in self-defense."
Countering the statement, the Babbitt family lawyer, Roberts, had previously told the outlet: "The actual evidence is this: the officer shot an unarmed woman who was not an immediate threat to him or any member of Congress. That is inconsistent with any claim of self-defense or the defense of others, period." He added that the Babbitt family "strongly disagree with the U.S. Attorney's decision, but we are not dissuaded from our goal of ultimately vindicating Ashli Babbitt's constitutional rights in the civil arena." Roberts also revealed that the family is planning another lawsuit against the police department for invading Babbitt's constitutional right against excessive force and "possibly failure to train, discipline and supervise the officer who killed Babbitt." He added that the family will be seeking "an amount well above $10 million" in recovery from losses.