According to court documents released on Friday, Ashli Babbitt’s husband filed a lawsuit for $30 million against the U.S. Government.
Judicial Watch attorneys, a conservative group of lawyers, filed the lawsuit in California federal court for Aaron Babbitt. The suit claims wrongful death, assault, and battery.
Babbitt, a Capitol Police Lieutenant Michael Byrd was fatally shot by him during the breaching of the Capitol Building. She had been trying to climb up the barricaded door of the House chamber through a smashed glass window.
The lawsuit claims:
The facts are the truth. Ashli didn’t go to Washington with a group, or to further any illegal or nefarious purposes,” [and Babbitt is an Air Force veteran] did not pose a threat to anyone’s safety.
Judicial Watch lawyers accused Byrd “of violating standards for care regarding the safe use and use of firearms, force assessment, and imminent threats assessment.” Byrd was not in uniform when he shot Babbitt, he didn’t identify as a police officer and allegedly failed to give her “any warnings” or commands before firing at point-blank range.
Byrd said that he was amazed to learn that he had saved “countless lives.” He told NBC News that:
I knew that members of Congress and my colleagues in the military, including officers and staff were in grave danger. That’s what I do.
The lawsuit also states:
Ashli, along with many other patriotic Americans who attended the rally peacefully walked the distance of about 1.5 miles to the Capitol after the rally. Ashli was closely followed by two Metropolitan Police Department undercover officers as she climbed up the steps to the West Terrace. Ashli entered the Capitol from the Senate side, long after other people had done so. Ashli was directed by a female Capitol Police Officer to walk down the south side of the Capitol toward the House.
Ashli obeyed and walked alone through the Capitol, arriving in the hallway outside of the main entrance to the House Chamber, where protesters had gathered. Ashli walked alone east along the corridor outside the House Chamber, and then turned south to reach the Speaker’s Lobby in the southeast corner.
The shooting took place at the east entry to the Speaker’s Lobby. Two individuals, who were crammed into the crowded hallway outside the Speaker’s Lobby, struck the glass panels on the doors of the lobby and the right door sidelight. Ashli was shot by Lt. Byrd who is the commander of the USCP and the incident commander at the House for January 6, 2021.
Later, Lt. Byrd confessed to having shot Ashli without seeing her hands, assessing her intentions, or recognizing her as a woman. Ashli wasn’t armed. Her hands were empty and up in the air in full view of Lt. Byrd, as well as other officers present in the lobby. Ashli was not a threat to anyone’s safety. There was no member of Congress in the lobby which was guarded with multiple armed police officers.
This is the thing. This article was likely not read by anyone who was there. It’s true that being in a rabid mob, caught up in the moment, and trying to climb through a smashed Capitol Building glass window is not enough to warrant being shot by a police officer.
Boyd, however, was formally cleared of all charges in the end.
It was certainly unwise of Babbitt and the other rioters to smash a window on a Capitol door that was close to the House Chamber, but did it serve justice to shoot to death an unarmed woman, undoubtedly caught in the chaos?
No, it was not. It never was.