I’ve previously covered some of the questions surrounding the shooting of Ashli Babbitt during the Capitol riot.
She was killed while trying to climb through a window. There were also cops behind her. She had no weapons in her hands and wasn’t physically threatening Michael Byrd, the officer who shot her. These questions raise obvious concerns about the rationality of her actions.
She was basically killed by him for her act of trespassing as he saw heavily armed police officers coming right up to her. That’s evident on the video. She does not threaten or attack anyone on the video, other than the officers present right alongside her.
That’s what has always struck me the most about the facts in this case, when Byrd said he believes it was necessary: “I tried to wait as long as I could,” Byrd said. “I hoped and prayed no one tried to enter through those doors. But their failure to comply required me to take the appropriate action to save the lives of members of Congress and myself and my fellow officers.”
However, it wasn’t necessary at all, because she hadn’t attacked any of the cops she was standing next to, and more heavily armed cops were coming to protect the hallway. He could have waited for them to arrive if he had waited just a few seconds longer. She wasn’t posing an immediate threat to him when he took the shot.
But because the Capitol Police have refused to release the documents in the matter, and all we’ve gotten is the DOJ’s decision not to prosecute Byrd, there’s a big gap in the information that we would have, normally, in a police shooting case. Usually, it’s released and/or subject to FOIA, but the Capitol Police aren’t subject to FOIA.
Now, though, Judicial Watch has been able to obtain 500 pages of internal documents from the DC Metropolitan Police pertaining to the shooting, including witness accounts that Tom Fitton, the president of Judicial Watch, says show “no good reason to shoot and kill Ashli Babbitt.”
“The Biden-Garland Justice Department and the Pelosi Congress have much to answer for the over the mishandling and cover-up of this scandalous killing of an American citizen by the U.S. Capitol Police,” Fitton said.
According to an Internal Affairs Division report several other witnesses from police confirmed Babbitt didn’t have any weapon or items in her possession. They also recounted Byrd being visibly upset.
These are two accounts from police witnesses that were present at the scene.
“Sergeant [redacted]A protester in white was seen climbing through an open area, where the glass had been removed. The gunshot rang out and the female fled through the crack. On the opposite side, the crowd began to move backwards and some people put their hands up in the air. Sergeant [redacted]Lieutenant Byrd stepped back after the gunshots were heard. He did not see anything in the female protester’s hands prior to the gunshot,” the Internal Affairs Division report stated.
“Sergeant [redacted]Never went to the east side of the gate. He did not even know it was Lieutenant Byrd that had shot the gun, until Byrd spoke to him shortly afterward. Lieutenant Byrd looked upset and stated, ‘I was the one who took the shot,’” the report continued.
Judicial Watch noted that in a written transcript of the interview with the sergeant, he detailed he was not sure “if something happened to” Byrd that “caused him to take the shot or not.”
“Uh, I saw Lieutenant Byrd kinda. I don’t know if it was before or after. This was the point I was trying to work out. He seemed to be going like this, then he came back up. Uh, I don’t know if that was from him taking the shot and then stepping back from that shot or if it was before that, I can’t, no matter how I tried to rack my brain, I can’t, I can’t figure out when that happened, but uh, so I don’t know if something happened to him where [sic] caused him to take the shot or not,” the written transcript states.
A second officer confirmed her assertion that she did not have weapons.
“He did not see Ms. McEntee [Babbitt] in possession of any potential weapons,” the summary report states.
“He reiterated that he did not observe that she was armed.”
That interviewee also described Byrd as “upset” following the shooting.
“Lieutenant Byrd was shaking, he did not say anything…. Byrd appeared to be very distressed, nervous and teary-eyed. His voice [was]Also, he was shaking when he called radio for help. Lieutenant Byrd was still very upset,” the report continued.
Another troubling note was one of the officers said that “[h]e did not hear any verbal commands” [from Byrd]Babbitt had been shot before. According to Byrd, he told everyone repeatedly to stop. You can’t hear that on the video of the incident, but the noise is very loud, so he could have been shouting and you just can’t hear it. But that also means it’s likely that Babbitt might not have heard it either, if he actually did shout commands. But this testimony casts doubt on that part of Byrd’s story.
So, if the other officers could see that she didn’t have any weapons in her hands, why couldn’t Byrd? So, why then did Byrd take her out? Byrd actually said during his interview with NBC’s Lester Holt that that wouldn’t have made any difference to him.
“Her family points out that she was not armed,” Holt says. “That’s correct,” Byrd responded. “The fact that you weren’t aware whether she was armed or not, did that alter the decision making?” Holt asked. “It did not,” Byrd said.
He would have killed her regardless of whether he was armed. That’s not a reasonable position. Holt noted that there were many other officers in other situations where they were attacked, but they didn’t respond by shooting anyone.
That’s why it’s important to get such records, so that the case can fully be evaluated, and why it’s wrong that the Capitol Police hasn’t been willing to provide the information that normally we would have at this point.
Another piece of information that we have is Byrd’s infamous 2019 incident in which he left a loaded gun inside a Capitol toilet.