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The Capitol Police officer who shot protester Ashi Babbitt was found to be acting “lawfully” and “in line with department policy” and will not face internal sanctions, the Capitol Police said Monday.
The Daily Wire reported Friday that the officer who shot Babbitt as she entered the Capitol Speaker’s Lobby through a broken window was “formally exonerated after the Capitol Police conducted an internal investigation, according to an internal document.”
The internal Capitol Police investigation represented the last such open investigation into the circumstances surrounding the 35-year-old Trump supporter’s death. A memo on the matter, obtained by NBC News, said that “no further action will be taken in this matter,” meaning that the officer — who will not be named — will not face discipline.
The Capitol Police unveiled the report itself on Monday. Officials “said they had interviewed multiple witnesses and reviewed video and radio calls as part of the months-long probe,” according to the Daily Mail.
“USCP’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) determined the officer’s conduct was lawful and within Department policy, which says an officer may use deadly force only when the officer reasonably believes that action is in the defense of human life, including the officer’s own life, or in the defense of any person in immediate danger of serious physical injury,” read a statement from the Capitol Police.
The Capitol Police investigator also said that the officer who shot Ashli Babbitt may have “saved Members’ lives,” referring to the Members of Congress who locked down inside the Capitol building after protesters interrupted a vote to certify the results of the Electoral College.
“Officials said the cop, who is not being named out of concerns for his safety due to threats, ‘potentially saved Members [of Congress] and staff from serious injury and possible death from a large crowd of rioters who forced their way into the U.S. Capitol and to the House Chamber where Members and staff were steps away,” the Daily Mail noted.
A Department of Justice investigation, which concluded earlier this year, reached similar results. Babbitt’s family said earlier this month that they plan to file a $10 million wrongful death lawsuit against the Capitol Police, under the theory that the officer did not issue any verbal commands to Babbitt and others before he opened fire. A lawyer for the officer told RealClearInvestigations, “It’s a false narrative that he issued no verbal commands or warnings. He was screaming, ‘Stay back! Stay back! Don’t come in here!'”
“Lethal force is appropriate if the situation puts you or others in fear of imminent bodily harm. There should be a training video on how he handled that situation. What he did was unbelievable heroism,” the attorney told RCI.
Babbitt was the only protester who died during the January 6th riot at the U.S. Capitol. A shocking video, which went viral, showed Babbitt as part of a group that tried to enter the locked Speaker’s Lobby on the House side of the building. Babbitt appears, in the video, to have been shot through a window. She was evacuated from the Capitol and taken to a nearby hospital where she died from her wounds.