The attorney for the family of Ashli Babbitt, Terry Roberts, announced that the family plans to sue the Capitol Police and the officer who shot her for at least $10 million, Newsweek reports.
Babbitt, a decorated Air Force veteran, was shot by a Capitol Police officer at the United States Capitol on January 6. Months later, the identity of the officer still hasn’t been released. The Capitol Police have not responded to FOIA requests – and they don’t have to, because as part of the legislative branch they are exempt from FOIA requirements (as our Scott Hounsell learned when attempting to obtain surveillance camera video). That the identity of the officer who shot Babbitt hasn’t been released is a little odd since in virtually every other police shooting we have known the name of the officer who was involved within days.
Ashli Babbitt's family to sue Capitol Police over her death https://t.co/h9K1d6BqbD
— James Hirsen (@thejimjams) April 29, 2021
On April 14, the Justice Department announced they would not be prosecuting the officer, who they declined to name.
“Prosecutors would have to prove not only that the officer used force that was constitutionally unreasonable, but that the officer did so ‘willfully,’ which the Supreme Court has interpreted to mean that the officer acted with a bad purpose to disregard the law,” according to the agency. The press release said 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.”
Video showed Babbitt trying to go through the window in the door into the Speaker’s Lobby near the House floor. There were other people and police behind her as she went through the window, as the DOJ press release confirmed. She was shot by the Capitol Police officer in the shoulder and fell back. She was taken to the hospital where she was pronounced dead.
Roberts decried the shooting, calling it “excessive force.” Roberts also said he was aware of the name of the police lieutenant who did the shooting.
“A rookie police officer would not have shot this woman,” Roberts told Zenger News. “If she committed any crime by going through the window and into the Speaker’s Lobby, it would have been trespassing. Some misdemeanor crime. All a rookie cop would have done is arrest her.”
“And he has plenty of other officers there to assist with arrest,” he said of the shooter. “You had officers on Ashli’s side of the door in riot gear and holding submachine guns. And on the other side of the door you have another uniformed officer 6 or 8 feet away. Whose life is he saving by shooting her? … She’s not brandishing a weapon. She’s on the window ledge. And there’s no reason to think she’s armed.”… “This is a clear case of excessive force,” Roberts said.
Ashli Babbitt’s husband comments on no one being charged in her killing.
— Newsmax (@newsmax) April 29, 2021
Roberts said he intended to file a notice of intent to sue within ten days with the Capitol Police.
According to Newsweek, Peter Whippy, the Committee on House Administration’s communications director, failed to answer “multiple requests for information about the lieutenant’s name and reasons for concealing it.”