The 35-year-old Air Force veteran’s family says they plan to sue the Capitol Police for wrongful death.
WASHINGTON — Amid the chaos on January 6 as thousands of pro-Trump rioters clashed with police and stormed into the U.S. Capitol building, only a single shot was fired – striking and killing a 35-year-old Air Force veteran named Ashli Babbitt.
Video shows Babbitt, who had traveled to D.C. from California because of her fervent belief in the lie that the 2020 election had been stolen from former President Donald Trump, was attempting to climb through a broken window into the Speaker’s Lobby outside the House Chamber when a Capitol Police officer guarding the entrance fired. An investigation by the Department of Justice ruled there was insufficient evidence to bring any charges against the officer, who has never been named publicly.
To Babbitt’s family, though, she was murdered.
“In the eyes of her family? Of course she was,” said attorney Terry Roberts. “I mean, there was just no legal justification to take her life.”
Roberts, a Prince George’s County-based attorney who specializes in police misconduct and civil rights litigation, says the Babbitt family plans to file a multi-million dollar wrongful death lawsuit against the Capitol Police Department. Roberts, who represented the family of Howard University student Prince Jones after he was killed in 2000 by an undercover Prince George’s County police detective, said to him the shooting is an “obvious case of excessive force.”
“She could have easily been stopped by the officer who shot her or numerous other officers who were around and been arrested, if that’s what they wanted to do. There was no need to shoot her,” Roberts said. “Any rookie police officer with a set of handcuffs could have taken her into custody. She’s an Air Force veteran. She was actually a military police officer herself. I am sure that she would have complied.”
The shooting was captured on video from multiple angles, including by a Capitol riot defendant named John Sullivan, who streams under the name “JaydenX.” Sullivan’s video, provided to WUSA9, shows Babbitt was part of a mob of dozens of rioters using improvised weapons to break the glass on doors and windows leading into the Speaker’s Lobby. A small number of Capitol Police officers can be seen barricaded behind the door.
Roberts said he hasn’t heard any evidence that the officer who shot Babbitt yelled orders for her to stop, and also said it’s not clear to him that Babbitt ever even saw the officer.
“On her side of the door it’s quite tumultuous, you know, a lot of noise and everything,” Roberts said. “I don’t believe Ashli Babbitt saw him at all. I mean, I think that if she has seen an officer with a gun facing her, that would be a totally different thing.”
Roberts said in his view, and in the Babbitt family’s view, Babbitt was a protester attempting to exercise…