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[WSJ] Officer Who Shot Capitol Rioter Ashli Babbitt Shouldn’t Be Charged, Investigators Advise

Maiden Voyage

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Bolding my own.
WASHINGTON—Investigators have made a preliminary determination that the police officer who shot and killed Ashli Babbitt during the U.S. Capitol riot shouldn’t be charged with any crimes in connection with her death, according to people familiar with the review.

Ms. Babbitt, who served for more than a dozen years in the Air Force and Air National Guard and became a passionate supporter of former President Donald Trump, died from being shot by a Capitol Police officer after rioters smashed through a door to the Speaker’s Lobby on Jan. 6. She had entered the building as part of a crowd aiming to disrupt the certification of President Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election.

The officer who shot her had been placed on leave soon after the riot while Ms. Babbitt’s death was being investigated, including on the question of whether it was a violation of her civil rights.

The Justice Department said in announcing the investigation that it was following routine procedure for whenever a police officer uses deadly force by having the Washington Metropolitan Police Department examine the shooting. The police investigators have made an initial determination that charges against the officer aren’t warranted, the people said, adding that Justice Department officials haven’t yet made a final determination on the matter. The U.S. attorney’s office in Washington is leading the broader investigation into the riot and prosecuting the more than 150 cases that have resulted to date.

A Justice Department spokeswoman had no immediate comment. Any final charging decision would likely have to be approved by senior Justice Department leadership, who haven’t yet been briefed on the matter.

In evaluating such cases, federal prosecutors must establish not only that an officer used excessive force but also that the officer willfully violated someone’s constitutional rights. That high bar makes bringing federal charges against an officer difficult, and legal experts had predicted that any such case in connection with Ms. Babbitt’s death was unlikely.

A spokeswoman for the Capitol Police declined to comment on what she called “an ongoing investigation.” A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: “It would be premature to provide a comment at this time.”

The death of Ms. Babbitt, a 35-year-old San Diego resident, came as a crowd of rioters gathered at the doorway to the Speaker’s Lobby in the Capitol building, banging on the glass and urging officers on the scene to step aside, according to multiple videos of the incident.

The crowd smashed the glass with a helmet and stick, according to video footage. Seconds later, Ms. Babbitt, who was unarmed, attempted to jump through the shattered glass and was shot by a Capitol Police officer from inside the doorway, according to the footage.

Multiple videos of the shooting posted on social media showed Ms. Babbitt, who appears to be wearing a Trump flag as a cape, falling from a smashed-out window after being shot by an officer on the other side of a set of double doors.

The officer, a lieutenant, was essentially serving as a potential last line of defense between the rioters and members of Congress, thus providing some justification for his actions and falling well short of the standard necessary to charge a police officer with a civil-rights violation for a shooting, the people said.

“That’s where he drew the line in the sand,” a fellow Capitol Police officer said, adding that the lieutenant, whose police powers have been suspended, is expected to return to his previous status, though he is afraid of being retaliated against by Trump supporters.

“Without question he should be cleared,” a lawyer for the officer, Mark Schamel of the law firm Lowenstein Sandler, said. “There’s no way to look at the evidence and think he’s anything but a hero,” he said.


Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R., Okla.), who witnessed the shooting, said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal last month that he saw a Capitol Police lieutenant in a defensive position in front of the House lobby’s doors.

The GOP congressman said he was alarmed because there were still lawmakers and press trapped in the third-floor balcony inside the chamber, overlooking the floor.

“I believe they were wanting to hurt us,” he said of the mob that was banging on the door. “My thought was, ‘How are we going to handle this one?’”

Then, Mr. Mullin said, a gunshot rang out.

“Of course then everybody got really excited again,” he said, “but I’ll tell you, from my perspective, the lieutenant that did that, I truly feel that he saved some people’s lives that day.”


The officer approached him afterward, distraught, Mr. Mullin said. He said he hugged the officer and told him, “Listen, you did what you had to do.”

In the videos, multiple police officers appear to provide first aid to Ms. Babbitt, who was taken to a hospital and later died of her injuries.

The recommendation not to charge the officer who shot Ms. Babbitt is likely to stoke controversy. Some far-right activists have used her death as a rallying cry and referred to her as a martyr for their cause, with her image appearing on protest flags and a Telegram account linked to the far-right group the Proud Boys calling her a “casualty of system aggression.”

The Justice Department has declined to charge officers in a number of other high-profile cases that developed under different circumstances. It decided not to file federal civil-rights charges against the former Ferguson, Mo., police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black teenager in 2014, saying prosecutors couldn’t disprove the officer’s claims he fired because he feared for his safety. That led to widespread protests and spurred a national conversation about police use of force.

In social-media profiles in her name, Ms. Babbitt is described as a veteran and libertarian who loved her husband, her large black-and-white dog “and above all, my country.” Ms. Babbitt’s military service included several deployments to Iraq during the war.

On the day before the riot, Ms. Babbitt tweeted: “Nothing will stop us…they can try and try and try but the storm is here and it is descending upon DC in less than 24 hours…dark to light!”

A man who identified himself as Ms. Babbitt’s brother, reached by phone, said he couldn’t immediately comment.
 

GeorgPrime

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Well aside the fact that they let the people inside the capitol by themselves.... he shot them afterwards.

Hard to decide.
 
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Vestal

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Well aside the fact that they let the people inside the capitol by themselves.... he shot them afterwards.

Hard to decide.
Sorry but I have to call this out.. They didn't just let them in, it was either step aside or be overrun violently. This was sort of a last line of defense in that particular area. Had she gotten through, others would have followed and overrun that section of the building that obviously had congresspeople.

I hate to say it, but this was justified and a real stain in our country. We had a person shot and killed inside the capitol.
 

GeorgPrime

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Sorry but I have to call this out.. They didn't just let them in, it was either step aside or be overrun violently. This was sort of a last line of defense in that particular area. Had she gotten through, others would have followed and overrun that section of the building that obviously had congresspeople.

I hate to say it, but this was justified and a real stain in our country. We had a person shot and killed inside the capitol.

If its like this he just did his job and cant be charged for the security of the capitol

Otherwise you dont need security if you are not allowed to do your job
 
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GeorgPrime

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If she brought a weapon with her, she bears responsibility of her own death. As is the case in most police shootings. It's nice to see this part of society back up our police force. Sad that it's only because it is politically convenient.

The person has a body and some fists. Thats a weapon. ;) You dont need a weapon to get shot if you are aggressive to the point that you want to hurt someone.
 

DeepBreath87

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What is it they say whenever people complain about excessive force by police? jUsT fOlLoW tHe LaW
I mean, I do say that, sometimes. And it’s true. People should make the police’s job as easy as possible. It’s better for all involved.
 

Cravis

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Newly Vacant

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What is it they say whenever people complain about excessive force by police? jUsT fOlLoW tHe LaW
Personal politics is what's driving charges, not consistency. These Capitol "rioters" saw the BLM "rioters" get praise and accolades for their collective actions. They saw the police kneel down and prostrate themselves before the mob. Now they see their side get rounded up and arrested and the police officer that killed one of them gets praise and adulation. Imagine Jacob Blake's shooter getting a medal. Imagine the police who killed George Floyd getting a medal. This is just going to lead to a further erosion of trust, and further division.

Now that they know the way things operate, the next time they come to the capitol they're going to be armed, and it's going to be a blood bath. But hey, at least we can point out the fallacies and make fun of them, right?
 

JORMBO

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I also agree he was doing his job. I don't think he should be charged.
 

sackings

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Probably the right call. If we are looking to assign blame its the women + the clearly unprepared security. It never should have reached this point.
Can we stop calling this an insurrection? In a country with more guns than people, no one was armed at this event. If they had wanted to claim the seat of government on Jan 6, it wouldnt have even been close.
 

Vestal

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Probably the right call. If we are looking to assign blame its the women + the clearly unprepared security. It never should have reached this point.
Can we stop calling this an insurrection? In a country with more guns than people, no one was armed at this event. If they had wanted to claim the seat of government on Jan 6, it wouldnt have even been close.
What would you call it when people storm the capitol looking for congress people to either take them hostage or kill them?
 

sackings

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What would you call it when people storm the capitol looking for congress people to either take them hostage or kill them?
Where is the proof they were looking to take hostages and kill congress people
 

Vestal

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Where is the proof they were looking to take hostages and kill congress people
I guess the zip tie cuffs seen in various pictures and video were there for show? Various audio clips along with postings of them looking to find were the congress people were?

Lets entertain that idea.. What would have happened if they had breached into the chamber where congress people where.. Think about that...
 
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DeepBreath87

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What would you call it when people storm the capitol looking for congress people to either take them hostage or kill them?
A parade of retards? I don’t know. I understand that we could call it a lot of things. But I just call it absolute stupidity. Like when you leave a toddler in a room alone for too long. Things are going to get broken. But I get some of these people had delusions of grandeur about getting the “traitors”.
 
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Petey-o

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Personal politics is what's driving charges, not consistency. These Capitol "rioters" saw the BLM "rioters" get praise and accolades for their collective actions. They saw the police kneel down and prostrate themselves before the mob. Now they see their side get rounded up and arrested and the police officer that killed one of them gets praise and adulation. Imagine Jacob Blake's shooter getting a medal. Imagine the police who killed George Floyd getting a medal. This is just going to lead to a further erosion of trust, and further division.

Now that they know the way things operate, the next time they come to the capitol they're going to be armed, and it's going to be a blood bath. But hey, at least we can point out the fallacies and make fun of them, right?
I'll be honest, this is the first time I've seen a 'the police was so nice to BLM' take.
 

Goro Majima

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In total support of this.

Next time it might be Antifa storming the capitol.
 

Vestal

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A parade of retards? I don’t know. I understand that we could call it a lot of things. But I just call it absolute stupidity. Like when you leave a toddler in a room alone for too long. Things are going to get broken. But I get some of these people had delusions of grandeur about getting the “traitors”.
I don't argue on the mental stability of those that stormed the capitol. But we have to call things for what they are.

The definition of Insurrection: a violent uprising against an authority or government.

In this instance, inside the Capitol Building there was a proceeding to certify the lawful election of the next POTUS, a violent uprising looked to disrupt that constitutional proceeding. I don't know what else to call it other than that.
 

DeepBreath87

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I don't argue on the mental stability of those that stormed the capitol. But we have to call things for what they are.

The definition of Insurrection: a violent uprising against an authority or government.

In this instance, inside the Capitol Building there was a proceeding to certify the lawful election of the next POTUS, a violent uprising looked to disrupt that constitutional proceeding. I don't know what else to call it other than that.
I’m not disagreeing with you. I’m just saying it was an insurrection in the same way my kids refusing the go to bed is a mutiny. But obviously the consequences of this were significantly worse. I don’t mean to downplay that. It’s just they weren’t going to take over the country.
 
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Vestal

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I’m not disagreeing with you. I’m just saying it was an insurrection in the same way my kids refusing the go to bed is a mutiny. But obviously the consequences of this were significantly worse. I don’t mean to downplay that. It’s just they weren’t going to take over the country.
Oh agree with you on that. My original post was responding to someone asking if we can call it something different is all. We can't downplay the severity of what happened.
 
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Mohonky

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No problems from me.

Storm Capitol building, expect to get fired on.
 

INCUBASE

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Seems fair overall, considering the circumstances

What did people storming the capital expect to happen? I mean they were gullible enough to believe trump was gonna be right their with them, so I guess you can't expect much logical thinking
 

Nobody_Important

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Where is the proof they were looking to take hostages and kill congress people
Several of the rioters that stormed the capitol had handcuff style zip ties. Their intentions were clear. Don't be naïve.
 
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Woo-Fu

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This decision isn't causing any rioting, nobody looting the nearest Target or Footlocker? Hmmm.
 
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TheContact

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OrtizTwelve

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Bolding my own.

The officer shouldn't be charged. He acted appropriately given the situation, which at the time was total chaos. Put yourself in the officer's shoes. You have a large mass of morons breaking things and creating hell, then one of them tries to jump through the door/window into a secure area -- he fires back to repel the mob.

If you're charging and pillaging through the US Capitol, what do you expect? I am surprised MORE people won't shot.
 

macfoshizzle

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they issue him a gun to protect the capitol. he uses it for that purpose exactly. talks about him being charged? christ sake