The Capitol police officer who fatally shot Ashli Babbitt during the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol has been exonerated after a lengthy investigation.
The unnamed officer shot and killed Babbitt, 35, when she and a violent mob of President Donald Trump supporters forced their way into the Capitol in an attempt to stop the electoral vote-counting process.
Following an internal investigation, the commander of the Capitol Police’s Office of Personal Responsibility announced: “no further action will be taken in this matter.”
Despite the announcement, Ashli Babbitt’s family says they will file a $10 million wrongful death lawsuit, The Washington Examiner reported. They say that Babbitt was the victim of an “ambush” since the officer was wearing plain clothes and didn’t issue a verbal command.
Terry Roberts, the family’s attorney, referenced the video which shows the Air Force veteran being shot. Roberts also pointed out that no one appears to duck for cover in the moments before Babbitt was shot and killed, suggesting that the cop gave no verbal warning.
However, the officer’s lawyer denied this claim in previous interviews, saying his client issued multiple verbal commands but wasn’t heard on the video because he was wearing a mask.
The Department of Justice investigated the shooting and declined to charge the officer back in April, saying, “there was “insufficient evidence to support a criminal prosecution.”
In its statement in April, the Justice Department said that the investigation did not find evidence that the officer had violated any federal laws and that there was nothing to contradict that he believed it was necessary to shoot at Babbitt “in self-defense or in defense of the Members of Congress and others evacuating the House Chamber.”
“Officials examined video footage posted on social media, statements from the officer-involved and other officers and witnesses to the events, physical evidence from the scene of the shooting, and the results of an autopsy,” and “based on that investigation, officials determined that there is insufficient evidence to support a criminal prosecution,” the statement added.
Air Force records show that Babbitt served multiple tours from 2004 to 2016 in the Middle East. NBC News reported that she had shown support for Donald Trump and promoted conservative activists and QAnon conspiracy theory movement leaders.