Former President Donald Trump has demanded to know the identity of the officer who fatally shot and killed one of the protesters at the Capitol on January 6.
In a brief statement through his website, Trump asked, “Who shot Ashli Babbitt?”
It quickly made its way to Twitter and gained different reactions. It was the first official statement he’s made regarding the officer involved in her death.
Babbitt was part of Donald Trump’s supporters who stormed the US Capitol in Washington DC on January 6 as lawmakers gathered to validate Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential election victory.
The 35-year-old was part of a group that forced entry into the chamber of the House of Representatives while it was still in session. The mob was able to break the glass of one of the doors, and Ms. Babbitt attempted to climb through it, at which the officer fired a round from his pistol.
Babbitt was hit in the shoulder and taken to MedStar Washington Hospital Center, where she died.
Ever since the January 6 revolt, the Republican Party has been pushing hard for the Joe Biden administration to reveal the name of the police officer responsible for the shooting of Babbitt.
However, the DOJ has repeatedly refused to name the cop responsible, with limited details making its way to the public. A January 24 report revealed that the officer had 31 bullets in his possession.
In April, the Justice Department said it had conducted a thorough investigation into the 35-year-old’s death that included examining video footage and speaking with other officers and witnesses, as well as the autopsy results.
The investigation yielded insufficient evidence to support the criminal prosecution of the officer.
“Specifically, the investigation revealed no evidence to establish that, at the time the officer fired a single shot at Ms. Babbitt,” the Department of Justice wrote. “The officer did not reasonably believe that it was necessary to do so in self-defense or in defense of the Members of Congress and others evacuating the House Chamber.”
The Capitol Police officer who shot Babbitt has been identified by federal prosecutors and cleared of wrongdoing. Lawyers for the officer chose not to reveal his name because he has faced death threats.
Babbitt was the only death ruled a homicide on the day of the riot.
Brian Sicknick, a police officer who was defending the Capitol building also died shortly after returning to his office during the siege. He suffered two strokes and died from natural causes the next day in the hospital.
In total, seven people died because of the violence on Capitol Hill on January 6, but Babbitt was the only protestor to die in action.
The case was investigated by the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Civil Rights Division of the DOJ. The investigation concluded that “there is insufficient evidence to support a criminal prosecution”.
The press release confirmed Babbitt was shot “in self-defense or in defense of the Members of Congress”. As a result, on April 14, 2021, the DOJ closed the investigation since there was no crime committed.
Babitt’s family has filed a $10million lawsuit against the officer and the Capitol Police and a separate case demanding the name is released.
On Wednesday it appeared that Babbitt husband had filed a lawsuit on June 1 requesting the disclosure of files from the investigation into his wife’s death, including police reports, witness statements, and video footage.
A lawyer representing Babbitt’s family told CNBC that the lawsuit was separate from the upcoming proposed legal action demanding payment from Capitol Police of “well above $10m”.
Mike Rothschild, author of “The Storm Is Upon Us,” a book about the QAnon movement, told Forbes that Trump’s statement is “incredibly disturbing.”
“Trump knows that if this person’s identity is revealed, they will immediately be in extreme danger from his following,” Rothschild said. “He just doesn’t care.”
On Twitter, some reacted to Trump’s statement.
“So Donald Trump now asks: “Who shot Ashli Babbitt?” The answer: Have you no shame? Look in the mirror. It is you who are in large measure responsible for her death. She was in D.C. because of you. She stormed the Capitol because of you. She is not alive now because of you.”
“For those looking to figure out who killed Ashli Babbitt the answer is simple: Donald Trump,” another user commented. “He radicalized her like Bin Laden radicalized people in Al Qaeda.”
In 2019, The Guardian tracked 52 incidents since 2015, where MAGA(Make America Great Again) supporters engaged in violence invoking the name of the former president, or his “make America great again” message.
Ashli Babbitt is regarded as a martyr and a GoFundMe memorial account has raised more than $90,000.
Along with Trump, several Republicans have called for the officer to be held accountable for shooting Babbitt. Representative Paul Gosar of Arizona has said she was “executed.”
Babbitt was a veteran of the US Air Force who had served two tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. She later worked at a pool service company with her husband Aaron, whom she had only recently married.
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