C-Span is going to be running a series on the Capitol riot with interviews from 14 different members of Congress.
C-SPAN interviewed lawmakers to recount their firsthand experiences on January 6th.
14 members of Congress shared their stories of what they experienced that day.
— CSPAN (@cspan) July 21, 2021
They’re literally trying to stretch it out like it’s a TV series. I wonder if they have one for Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and what she went through in her office a quarter of a mile away?
The first clip that I’ve seen involves an interview with Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK). He explains how he hugged the Capitol Police officer who shot Ashli Babbitt and told him that he “did what he had to.”
.@RepMullin on police officer who fatally shot woman in Capitol on January 6th: "After it happened, he came over. He was physically and emotionally distraught. I actually gave him a hug and I said, 'sir, you did what you had to do.'" pic.twitter.com/qSwZgilMS7
— CSPAN (@cspan) July 23, 2021
From a legal and factual point of view, there are big problems with that statement that he “did what he had to.” But part of the problem is that we are limited in the information that we have been provided because the Capitol Police, unlike every other police shooting, have not released all the facts, they haven’t released all the information or video that they have and we haven’t been able to hear the officer’s reasoning for the shooting. They haven’t even told us his name, although as I reported, his name was accidentally mentioned during a Zoom hearing when Capitol official Timothy Blodgett refers to Officer Byrd. Real Clear Investigation identified him as Lt. Michael Byrd.
From a legal point of view, generally speaking, when you look at police use of deadly force, you look at whether the officer faced a threat to his life or the lives of others, or a risk of significant bodily harm. The problem here is that she wasn’t threatening physical harm to him or anyone else from the video we have. Yes, other people in the crowd elsewhere were. But what’s interesting here is that when there were three officers standing there blocking the doorway, the police were not being attacked (although people were smashing the glass and breaking things) but she wasn’t attacking anyone nor was she even breaking through anything. You can hear people yelling they don’t want to hurt anyone they just want to get inside. So at the point he shot her, the only apparent crime may have been an illegal entry, basically a trespass, which is a misdemeanor. How do we know whether of not she would have been a threat to him? Well, we can judge by how she treated the other officers. There’s also a Congressional official standing there near her against the wall. She isn’t bothering him either.
It’s not at all clear that the officer warned her that he would fire. I can’t hear it on the video, but then everyone else is yelling. He may have. But if I didn’t hear it, perhaps she didn’t either, even if he did yell. But I don’t hear it on the video. There seems to be no questioning of why there wasn’t less-than-lethal force used.
But here’s maybe the biggest point — and when I watch it, I find it troubling. Because factually, the killing of Ashli Babbitt was so unnecessary, no, he “didn’t do what he had to do.” Why? Because virtually the second after she is shot and falls back onto the floor, you can see a tactical officer behind her reach out to her. What does that mean? That means that when the three officers left the front of the doors to the speaker’s lobby they did so presumably after the members had cleared the area. They were told they could go, that’s why they left. The tactical officers were coming up the stairs, presumably to take their place and hold the protesters back. Had Byrd just waited literally a couple of seconds, they would have been there. You can see it on the video.