The Department of Justice has announced that the U.S. Capitol Police officer who shot and killed Ashli Babbitt, a military veteran and a supporter of former President Donald Trump, will not face any charges relating to her Jan. 6 death.
Without naming the officer, who has remained anonymous since shooting Babbitt in a hallway at the U.S. Capitol, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for District of Columbia issued a media release Wednesday clearing the officer of any wrongdoing and announced it was closing the book on the California woman.
“The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice will not pursue criminal charges against the U.S. Capitol Police officer involved in the fatal shooting of 35-year-old Ashli Babbitt, the Office announced today,” the office said in the release.
The department said it came to the decision not to charge the unnamed officer after a joint investigation from the D.C attorney’s office and the Metropolitan Police Department’s Internal Affairs Division.
“Officials examined video footage posted on social media, statements from the officer involved and other officers and witnesses to the events, physical evidence from the scene of the shooting, and the results of an autopsy,” the media release said. “Based on that investigation, officials determined that there is insufficient evidence to support a criminal prosecution.”
The DOJ said it informed Babbitt’s family of the decision before the information was made public.
The department added that its months-long investigation “was to determine whether federal prosecutors could prove that the officer violated any federal laws” in order to establish if prosecutors could prove the unnamed Capitol Police officer who shot Babbitt “acted willfully to deprive Ms. Babbitt of a right protected by the Constitution or other law, here the Fourth Amendment right not to be subjected to an unreasonable seizure.”
“The investigation revealed no evidence to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that the officer willfully [broke any laws],” the release said. “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 or in defense of the Members of Congress and others evacuating the House Chamber.”
The DOJ identified Babbitt as being part of a mob that had attempted to disrupt the business of lawmakers.
The investigation “determined that Ms. Babbitt was among a mob of people that entered the Capitol building” and that “As members of the mob continued to strike the glass doors, Ms. Babbitt attempted to climb through one of the doors where glass was broken out. An officer inside the Speaker’s Lobby fired one round from his service pistol, striking Ms. Babbitt.”
“Acknowledging the tragic loss of life and offering condolences to Ms. Babbitt’s family, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and U.S. Department of Justice have therefore closed the investigation into this matter,” the DOJ concluded.
Babbitt, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, was among those who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, the date the 2020 presidential election results were to be certified by Congress, to protest following a prolonged battle over the disputed results and a broader fight among conservatives for election integrity and transparency.
While five deaths from that day were initially attributed to the incursion into the Capitol, Babbitt’s shooting death is the only one that can be directly connected to any violence.
Protestor Kevin Greeson, 55, died of natural causes relating to cardiovascular disease, while another protester named Benjamin Phillips, 50, died due to the same condition, according to Washington, D.C., medical examiner Francisco Diaz.
Diaz, according to USA Today, also ruled that 34-year-old Roseanne Boyland died from “acute amphetamine intoxication.”
One Capitol Police officer, Brian Sicknick, died during the riot, but his cause of death remains shrouded in mystery. The medical examiner has not said when or if Sicknick’s cause of death will be released.
Diaz ruled Babbitt’s cause of death to be homicide.
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