Questions Need Answering in the Shooting of Ashli Babbitt, and Trump Just Asked a Big One

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

In every case in which there is a police shooting, I always counsel to wait for the facts.

Even if you think you know from an immediate witness statement or video, it’s always good to get all the facts, in order to be able to properly evaluate the shooting.


That’s assuming you can get the facts.

In the case of the shooting of Ashli Babbitt during the Capitol riot, we’re missing some pretty big facts. Perhaps chief among them is who shot her.

That question got even bigger Thursday, after President Donald Trump issued a message, asking simply: Who shot Ashli Babbitt?

The reason we don’t know is that the Capitol Police aren’t subject to FOIA requests and they’ve refused to reveal the name. In any other similar situation, we would have had the name long ago. Now, there’s lots of speculation, as we’ve noted before, as to who it might be. But, bottom line, the Capitol Police are not being transparent about it.

We should be told, and we should be able to have more facts than we’ve gotten so far. Unfortunately, because the facts are not more forthcoming, we are left with asking questions and trying to piece together video to get answers.

Some critical questions here. Where were the lawmakers when the officer fired? Also, the officer who shot had to know there were police on the other side of the door, as well as any number of other people in addition to Babbitt, but he fired essentially into an area where there was a crowd of people. Minutes before the shooting, three officers who had been standing across the doors, blocking the entry into the House Chamber suddenly move away from the door.


It’s at that point the rioters who had been stopped at the door decide to try to get in. Those officers do not restrain them and then leave. What looks like a congressional staffer is still there. And that’s when Babbitt is shot, trying to climb through the window in the door into the House chamber, as more tactical police officers have just come up the stairs.

I talk a little more about the sequence of events, because video shows something important: what appears to be the lawmakers leaving.

Here’s The NY Times video that describes them as leaving.

This is a more complete, WaPo video which shows the full sequence of events. In this one, the rioters say the lawmakers are leaving.

You hear some of the protesters say, to the cops blocking the doors, they don’t want to hurt the lawmakers, they just want to get inside. None of the people who are there attack the police who are blocking the doors, although there’s a little bit of bumping and a lot of yelling. You hear John Sullivan and others shout “gun” when they see the officer’s gun. But everything is so loud, Babbitt may not have heard it.


What you can see clearly in the following video is that the hallway the officer is in is empty, except for the officer and what appears to be about three other officers. The lawmakers are gone;, if that was them leaving on the earlier video, as the New York Times said, by the time of the shooting, they’re no longer there.

That might also explain why the three officers who were standing across the doors suddenly move away from the door. Did they leave the door, once told the lawmakers were out, so it was no longer necessary for them to be there? Although those officers leave, the Congressional staffer is still there, as are other protesters, as well as about four police in tactical gear who just came up the stairs.

Warning: very graphic.

Here’s another sad observation. Had the officer who shot waited another few seconds, the cops in the tactical gear who just came up the stairs likely would have been there to stand across the door and/or would have ushered the rioters out, as indeed they do after the shooting, making people back up.

But, it’s long since time that we get the answer not only to Trump’s question but a broader response on the facts surrounding the shooting in general. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is all about having a ‘select committee’, but how about a little response on some basic questions?



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