Who shot Ashli Babbitt? Trump demands release of cop's name, but here's why DoJ is refusing
On July 1, former president Donald Trump once again asked to know the truth about Ashli Babbitt's shooting. In a brief statement via his website, Trump asked, "Who shot Ashli Babbitt?" It quickly made its way to Twitter, with mixed reactions following.
Ever since the January 6 insurrection, the Republican Party has been pushing hard for the Joe Biden administration to reveal the name of the police officer responsible for the shooting of Babbitt. However, so far the DoJ has repeatedly refused to name the cop responsible, with limited details making its way to the public. A January 24 report revealed that the officer had 31 bullets in his possession. Babbitt, a former Air Force veteran and pro-Trump supporter, was quickly dubbed a "hero" by some, sparking furious debate in the days following her death.
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Since her shooting, Babbitt has become a major flashpoint for Republicans, who repeatedly deny that January 6 happened. In June, Rep Paul Gosar was slammed after he also asked for Babbitt's shooter to be ID'd, during testimony by FBI Director Christopher Wray. Trump has now joined the fray with his short statement, adding more fuel to the fire. Despite the pressure, why is the Department of Justice (DoJ) not naming the shooter?
Why is the DoJ hiding the cop's name?
In total, seven people died as a result of the violence on Capitol Hill on January 6, but Babbitt was the only protestor to die in action. Given that her death was caused by the insurrection, it has naturally gained a lot of interest. Following Babbitt's death, the case was investigated by the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Civil Rights Division of the DoJ. The investigation concluded that "there is insufficient evidence to support a criminal prosecution". The press release confirmed Babbitt was shot "in self-defense or in defense of the Members of Congress". As a result, on April 14, 2021, the DoJ closed the investigation since there was no crime committed.
Since the DoJ declined to pursue criminal charges, there appears to be no reason to name the officer involved. That said, the department has not issued an official statement on why it won't reveal the shooter's name, which has further sparked fury from Republicans. We can only guess why the DoJ won't do so, but it appears to be a no-brainer. "Trump knows that if this person’s identity is revealed, they will immediately be in extreme danger from his following," conspiracy theory expert Mike Rothschild told Forbes.
The insurrection was the pinnacle of four years of Trump's presidency when violence routinely rocked the streets of America. From Charlotteville to Washington DC, Trump supporters have routinely attacked, injured and even killed anyone they see as enemies, egged on by Trump. In 2019, The Guardian tracked 52 incidents since 2015, where MAGA supporters engaged in violence invoking the name of the former president, or his 'make America great again' message.
If the DoJ were to reveal the officer's name, he too would likely face the same fate. Insurrectionists managed to breach the Capitol once and could do it again. Nonetheless, Babbitt's family is still pushing for the truth. In June, the family sued to access all the evidence in the possession of the Metropolitan Police Department. Of course, at this point, we can only guess, but if we take history into account, the answer appears clear. The DoJ is attempting to protect the officer, so he can continue to discharge his duty without fearing for his life.
'It is you who are in large measure responsible for her death'
Twitter was quick to react to Trump's statement. One person tweeted, "So Donald Trump now asks: "Who shot Ashli Babbitt?" The answer: Have you no shame? Look in the mirror. It is you who are in large measure responsible for her death. She was in D.C. because of you. She stormed the Capitol because of you. She is not alive now because of you." Another person echoed that sentiment, tweeting, "For those looking to figure out who killed Ashli Babbitt the answer is simple: Donald Trump. He radicalized her like Bin Laden radicalized people in Al Qaeda."
So Donald Trump now asks: "Who shot Ashli Babbitt?"— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) July 1, 2021
The answer: Have you no shame? Look in the mirror. It is you who are in large measure responsible for her death. She was in D.C. because of you. She stormed the Capitol because of you. She is not alive now because of you.
For those looking to figure out who killed Ashli Babbitt the answer is simple: Donald Trump. He radicalized her like Bin Laden radicalized people in Al Qaeda.— (((DeanObeidallah))) (@DeanObeidallah) July 1, 2021
"Trump sent Ashli Babbitt to the Capitol in full combat gear, because of the BIG LIE. Trump is responsible for her death," another person tweeted. One person said, "You want the name of who killed #AshliBabbitt .... Ashli Babbitt. That's who killed her."
Trump sent Ashli Babbitt to the Capitol in full combat gear, because of the BIG LIE.— Holly 🌷🌿 #Vaccinated (@Msdesignerlady) July 2, 2021
Trump is responsible for her death.
You want the name of who killed #AshliBabbitt ....— Kevin Matza (@KMat21) July 2, 2021
That's who killed her.
Others continued to push for the release of the cop's name. "Who murdered Unarmed peaceful protester Ashli Babbitt And why is he not in jail," one person tweeted. Another said, "I demand justice for Ashli Babbitt. Who else will say the same?!"
Who murdered Unarmed peaceful protester Ashli Babbitt— vince langman (@LangmanVince) July 1, 2021
And why is he not in jail
I demand justice for Ashli Babbitt. Who else will say the same?!— ꧁٭ Ginger Gano ٭꧂ (@GingerGano) July 1, 2021
With the legal case coming, the mystery of Babbitt's shooter is likely to remain in the public eye for a long time. It could also become a key focus of Republicans who are named to the select committee to probe the insurrection. So far, minority leader Kevin McCarthy was warned against any House GOP members joining the probe, which could also potentially reveal Babbitt's shooter's name.