The Justice Department said Wednesday it has shut down its investigation into the shooting death of 35-year-old Ashli Babbitt, a U.S. military veteran from San Diego who was among hundreds protesting at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
Without charges. And without identifying who shot her.
The DOJ said the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia’s Public Corruption and Civil Rights Section and the Civil Rights Division, with the Metropolitan Police Department’s Internal Affairs Division “conducted a thorough investigation of Ms. Babbitt’s shooting.”
Investigators looked at video footage, reviewed statements from the officer involved and other officers and witnesses and looked at physical evidence.
“Officials determined that there is insufficient evidence to support a criminal prosecution,” the DOJ said.
The statement explained that prosecutors did not believe they could prove the officer used unreasonable force and did so willfully.
The DOJ said the Supreme Court has decided that means prosecutors would have had to prove “that the officer acted with a bad purpose to disregard the law.”
“As this requirement has been interpreted by the courts, evidence that an officer act out of fear, mistake, panic, misperception, negligence, or even poor judgment cannot establish the high level of intent required,” the DOJ said.
“No evidence” established that the officer, whose name was withheld, “did not reasonably believe that it was necessary to do so in self-defense or in defense of the members and Congress and others evacuating the House chamber.”
The DOJ said Babbitt, a 14-year Air Force veteran, was with a crowd that gathered at the Capitol “to protest the results of the 2020 presidential election.”
Some members of the crowd eventually “forced” their way into the building, and a congressional session to formalize Joe Biden’s election victory was halted.
Babbitt, the DOJ said, tried to climb through a glass door that was broken, and an officer shot and killed her.
WND founder and Editor Joseph Farah explained in a commentary that Babbitt was “the one and only gunshot victim at the Capitol that day. We still don’t know why. No one has been arrested. No one can provide an explanation or the name of the officer who shot her. There was no good reason for her death.”
The Babbitt family’s lawyer, Terrell Roberts, said on “Tucker Carlson Tonight”: “We don’t know why she was shot, there’s no good reason why she was shot. I mean, this is not a case where deadly force should have been used. All the officer had to do was step forward, establish his presence, give her a verbal warning, and if she didn’t comply and he had grounds to arrest her, arrest her. He could have arrested this 5-foot-2, 110 pound woman easily. But instead, he shot her.
“You don’t use deadly force unless you are confronted with a threat to your life or the threat to somebody else’s life. There was no immediate threat to the officer or to anyone else. That corridor was clear of congressmen, there wasn’t even a congressman close to Ashli Babbitt. She was not a threat, and it’s baffling why he would go ahead and shoot her first instead of taking the other steps like just merely arresting her.”
The lawyer said it was unlikely Babbitt could have heard a warning from the officer, since she was “on the other side of the room.”
Farah noted that the lawyer for the unnamed officer said the shooter was uncomfortable with Babbitt because she wore a backpack, which contained a sweater and a scarf.
Farah wrote: “But Officer X, we’ll call him, decided that his most prudent course of action was to fire a shot at Ashli Babbitt in a crowded room because she wore a backpack. In the off chance it contained a bomb or weapon, Officer X would take her out.”
USA Today reported the DOJ decided the officer reasonably could have thought shooting and killing Babbitt was in “defense.”
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