New Jan 6 related police records, transcripts appear to show Babbitt clearly unarmed before shot
The conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch announced Thursday that it has received over 500 pages of documents from the D.C. Metropolitan Police regarding the fatal police shooting of protester Ashli Babbitt during the Jan. 6 Capitol breach.
Judicial Watch obtained the documents through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed in May after District officials failed to respond to requests made in April to the city’s police department and its Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for information related to Babbitt’s death.
The 35-year-old Babbitt was fatally shot trying to enter a secured area inside the U.S. Capitol Building. The 14-year Air Force veteran was unarmed at the time, as she tried to climb through a broken door window near the House chambers.
Last month, Capitol Police officer Michael Byrd identified himself as the shooter. He has not been charged in the incident.
Copies of the documents provided by Judicial Watch in an announcement Thursday appear to show conflicting information about whether Babbitt was shot in the “chest” or the “shoulder.”
In addition, documents associated with several interviews with officers at the shooting appear to show Babbitt was clearly unarmed and uncertainty about whether she received a command to halt, raising concerns about why there was no charge against Byrd for excessive force.
“The interviewer asks the sergeant if he saw anything in the woman’s hands as she was climbing through the window, and he replies, ‘I didn’t see anything in her hands now,’ ” reads an excerpt from one interview in the documents provided to Judicial Watch.
Another except reads: “In a January 6, 2021, summary report of an interview with another Capitol Police officer by the force’s Internal Affairs Division investigator, the interviewee, who was immediately behind Byrd in the Speaker’s Lobby when Byrd shot Babbitt, said ‘He did not see Ms. McEntee [Babbitt] in possession of any potential weapons.’ “
The report continued, “He reiterated that he did not observe that she was armed.”
On the issue of whether Babbitt and other protestors were warned to stop, one Capitol Police officer who witnessed the shooting said in a Jan. 6 interview transcript, when asked whether he heard any verbal commands given by police prior to Babbitt being shot, replied, ‘Not at that point’ and then ‘I do not recall that.’ “
However, in a Jan. 6 phone interview report with a man who claimed he was in the House chambers, the man said he “heard Byrd shout ‘loud verbal commands’ and stating that he would ‘shoot.’ “
“The interviewee also said, ‘I couldn’t clearly make out what he was saying, but he was definitely, uh, giving commands, no question about it. … He also claimed Byrd was “giving commands” and “threatening to use lethal force.