By Donald Jeffries
The family of Ashli Babbitt, the 35-year-old Air Force veteran who was shot and killed inside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, has filed a $30 million wrongful death lawsuit in California. The lawsuit will hopefully shed light on the inexcusable actions of Capitol Police Lt. Michael Byrd. Babbitt, like all the other protesters, was unarmed.
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Byrd has not only escaped punishment, or even any criticism from the mainstream media, he has actually been lauded as a hero. Byrd had proved to be incredibly careless in the past, once leaving his loaded gun in a Capitol building restroom. He boasted to other officers that his rank would allow him to “be treated differently” during the disciplinary review.
In a softball interview with NBC, the delusional Byrd bragged that he had “saved countless lives” by shooting the unarmed young military veteran. Other police officers were standing next to Ashli as she attempted to climb through a broken window in the House chamber. It was at this point that Byrd shot and killed her.
The Department of Justice report on the shooting didn’t even attempt to justify it. The report stated, “Prosecutors would have to prove not only that the officer used force that was constitutionally unreasonable, but that the officer did so ‘willfully.’” The DOJ didn’t believe it could prove “a bad purpose to disregard the law” and that “evidence that an officer acted out of fear, mistake, panic, misperception, negligence, or even poor judgment cannot establish the high level of intent.” Byrd’s actions flew in the face of recent incidents where unarmed black suspects were shot by police officers, to significant public and media outrage.
Byrd’s description of events was ludicrous. He claimed that he’d been “trapped” with other officers as “the chants got louder,” describing what “sounded like hundreds of people outside of that door.” He yelled at the protesters to stop:
I tried to wait as long as I could. I hoped and prayed no one tried to enter through those doors. But their failure to comply required me to take the appropriate action to save the lives of members of Congress and myself and my fellow officers.
Ironically, because other officers were standing next to Ashli, Byrd could easily have hit them. “I could not fully see her hands or what was in the backpack or what the intentions are,” Byrd maintained, admitting that he did not see a weapon or an immediate threat from Babbitt.
As legal expert Jonathan Turley wrote:
In the Babbitt shooting, the different treatment seems driven more by the identity of the person shot than the shooter. Babbitt is considered by many to be fair game because she was labeled an “insurrectionist.” To describe her shooting as unjustified would be to invite accusations of supporting sedition or insurrection. Thus, it is not enough to condemn her actions (as most of us have done); you must not question her killing.
The complaint notes:
Ashli could not have seen Lt. Byrd, who was positioned far to Ashli’s left and on the opposite side of the doors, near an opening to the Retiring Room, a distance of approximately 15 feet and an angle of approximately 160 degrees. Sgt. Timothy Lively, one of the armed officers guarding the lobby doors from the hallway, later told officials investigating the shooting, “I saw him … there was no way that woman would’ve seen that.”
Lt. Byrd, who was not in uniform, did not identify himself as a police officer or otherwise make his presence known to Ashli. Lt. Byrd did not give Ashli any warnings or commands before shooting her dead.
The complaint continues:
At 2:45 p.m., or within one minute after shooting Ashli, Lt. Byrd made the following radio call: “405B. We got shots fired in the lobby. We got shots fired in the lobby of the House chamber. Shots are being fired at us and we’re uhh, prepared to fire back at them. We have guns drawn. Please don’t leave that end. Don’t leave that end.”
Approximately 35 seconds later, Lt. Byrd made another radio call, stating, “405B. We got an injured person. I believe that person was shot.” In fact, no shots were fired at Lt. Byrd or his fellow officers. The only shot fired was the single one Lt. Byrd fired at Ashli. He heard the loud noise of the gunshot. He saw her fall backward from the window frame.
Ashli’s family is being represented by the legal watchdog group Judicial Watch. This writer asked Ashli’s mother Micki Witthoeft for a comment, and she said, “I feel confident and blessed to have Judicial Watch fighting for Ashli.”
Perhaps at long last, justice will prevail in a case where all due process has been denied American citizens.
Donald Jeffries is a highly respected author and researcher whose work on the JFK, RFK and MLK assassinations and other high crimes of the Deep State has been read by millions of people across the world. Jeffries is also the author of three books currently being sold by AFP Bookstore.