NOTE – the shooter remains unidentified
- Air Force veteran Ashli Babbitt was shot and killed during the January 6 riot
- She was shot by Capitol Police after rioters smashed a door to Speaker’s Lobby
- The unnamed officer who shot her had been placed on leave soon after the riot
- Police investigators concluded charges against the officer are not warranted
- Justice Department officials have not yet made a final determination
The Capitol police officer who shot and killed Air Force veteran Ashli Babbitt during the January 6 insurrection should not be prosecuted, an initial police investigation has concluded.
Babbitt, 35, was killed as she tried to climb through a broken window to get into congressional chambers, after breaking into the federal building with a mob of pro-Trump rioters.
On Monday night sources told The Wall Street Journal that the unnamed Capitol lieutenant had been cleared by an internal investigation.
The mob was seen smashing windows and pushing at the doors while armed officers stood guard with their guns drawn on the other side. Babbitt was then seen trying to clamber through a smashed window to enter the chamber as a fellow rioter shouted ‘he’s got a gun’
It was always felt unlikely that the officer, who was in the last line of defense between the rioters and the politicians huddled inside, would be charged.
Federal prosecutors must be able to prove not only that an officer used excessive force, but also that the officer willfully violated someone’s constitutional rights.
The officer who fired the deadly shot told investigators, according to The New York Times, that there was utter confusion at the time, and he feared the rioters were about to access the chamber when he pulled the trigger.
Instead, there were police outside and they moved away as reinforcements arrived.
The crowd smashed the glass with a helmet and stick, according to video footage.
Multiple videos of the shooting posted on social media showed Babbitt, who appears to be wearing a Trump flag as a cape, falling from a smashed-out window after being shot by the officer on the other side of a set of double doors.
The officer claimed to have not known there had been three officers guarding the door. He said he had only seen the crowd advancing towards him in the moments before Babbitt’s death at around 2:30pm.
Footage shows the three officers guarding the door had no visible shields or riot gear.
The officer, who was put on leave pending an investigation, also claims he did not know a tactical team was on its was to help clear out the rioters.
Footage shows as the three officers guarding the door appear to make way for this team, with one saying: ‘They’re ready to roll.’
But that leaves the door completely unguarded as the rioters continue to try and break down the doors.
The officer who shot at Babbitt has told officials he did not know if any of those in the crowd were armed as he fired his single shot.
He also said he had no advance planning on how to deal with such a charge on the building.