It seems incredible that now, on June 15, we still don’t know the name of the Capitol Police officer who shot Ashli Babbitt.
Has there ever been such a case of such national attention where we haven’t been given the name of the officer? And especially when it’s a federal case, can you imagine denying even the family the name of the person who killed Babbitt?
The optics of it are ugly, to say the least. It bespeaks an unaccountable government who can shoot people and not even tell you who was behind the gun.
We reported that the family had filed a suit to get the name of the officer and his records.
Now, her husband and his attorney are stepping up the pressure. Last night, they went on Tucker Carlson’s show and said they are demanding that the government identify who the officer is.
“Somebody up in DC knows, I think a lot of people know, but nobody is telling us and the silence is deafening,” her husband, Aaron Babbitt said. He said he never thought he would lose his wife to political violence and he never thought that the government official could shoot someone and then not be identified.
His attorney, Terrell Roberts, said that he believed that they weren’t releasing the name because they didn’t have a good explanation for the shooting, and “that’s why they haven’t identified him.”
Roberts previously seemed to indicate that he knew the name, but apparently, the officer was not officially identified to the family, even though they may think they have an idea who he is. Tucker asked also about speculation that the officer was the same officer who had left a loaded gun in a bathroom.
In addition to the officer’s name, Babbitt is demanding other records relating to his wife’s death, including video footage of the incident and witness statements.
Generally, if she had been shot by someone other than a Capitol Police officer, there would be a public inquest and we would get more detail about the facts and the circumstances surrounding the killing.
The focus of the criminal investigation was to determine whether federal prosecutors could prove that the officer violated any federal laws, concentrating on the possible application of 18 U.S.C. § 242, a federal criminal civil rights statute. In order to establish a violation of this statute, prosecutors must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the officer 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. 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. As this requirement has been interpreted by the courts, evidence that an officer acted out of fear, mistake, panic, misperception, negligence, or even poor judgment cannot establish the high level of intent required under Section 242.
The investigation revealed no evidence to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that the officer willfully committed a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 242. 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. 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.
What that means is even if the officer acted out of fear, mistake, or misperception, if the DOJ doesn’t think he had a “bad purpose to disregard the law,” they’re not going to go ahead and charge him.
This leaves a lot of unanswered questions. For example, the medical examiner said she died from being shot in the shoulder. I’d like to know more about how that resulted in her death since being shot in the shoulder doesn’t normally result in death. Did she bleed to death? We don’t know. Why did the officer believe he had to use deadly force against Babbitt when the police outside of the doors next to Babbitt did not? We don’t know. Why has none of the information regarding the matter actually been released to the public?
Her family and the American people are entitled to know, if we are to continue to believe that our government serves the people and not just itself.