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Capitol rioter Ashli Babbitt’s family plans to sue the US Capitol Police and the yet-to-be-named officer who fatally shot her during the riot on Jan. 6, according to an attorney representing the family.
Babbitt, draped in then-President Donald Trump’s campaign flag, was shot as she tried to climb through a smashed-out window into the House of Representatives Speaker’s Lobby.
The 35-year-old Californian was a veteran of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. She traveled to DC to participate in a large pro-Trump demonstration branded “Stop the Steal” on the day Joe Biden was to be officially certified as president-elect based on electoral votes.
The officer who killed Babbitt has never been publicly identified and was not charged with a crime after a Justice Department review, but attorney Terry Roberts told Zenger News he knows their name, Newsweek reported.
“What it looks like is this guy shot this lady for no legitimate law enforcement purpose. And you know, they ought to be pretty ashamed of that,” Roberts said.
“In a free country like ours, it’s very strange and odd that they wouldn’t identify the officer, or even provide some details, explaining why he had to kill her. You would probably expect this kind of thing to happen in Russia,” he said.
“If she committed any crime by going through the window and into the Speaker’s Lobby, it would have been trespassing. Some misdemeanor crime. All a rookie cop would have done is arrest her,” Roberts said.
“And he has plenty of other officers there to assist with arrest.”
Roberts told the news service, “You had officers on Ashli’s side of the door in riot gear and holding submachine guns. And on the other side of the door you have another uniformed officer six or eight feet away. Whose life is he saving by shooting her? … She’s not brandishing a weapon. She’s on the window ledge.”
Roberts said that the family will seek roughly $12 million in damages and plans to serve US Capitol Police within 10 days. He said that he believes the officer will be found personally liable — and not protected by qualified immunity, which shields cops’ personal assets unless they blatantly violate established constitutional rights.
Babbitt was the only person to be shot during hours of fighting with police as thousands of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol to disrupt certification of President Biden’s victory in the Electoral College.
Footage of Babbitt’s shooting shows an officer’s arm and a handgun pointed toward her, but does not show the officer’s face.
Three other Trump supporters died of health emergencies as the marauding pro-Trump mob destroyed and stole government property and fought with police.
A Capitol Police officer, Brian Sicknick, died after the riot and his death initially was reported to be the result of a fire extinguisher bludgeoning. DC’s medical examiner said this month that Sicknick actually died of “natural causes” after suffering two strokes. Two police officers and at least one rioter died by suicide after Jan. 6.
Trump was impeached for a second time for allegedly inciting the riot, but was acquitted by the Senate with seven Republicans joining all Democrats in finding him guilty. Trump said Wednesday that he may seek re-election in 2024 and would likely announce his bid after the 2022 congressional midterm elections.
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