Last Updated on January 12, 2022
According to a report from RealClearInvestigations, U.S. Capitol Police Lt. Michael Byrd was cleared of any wrongdoing following the Ashli Babbitt shooting without being forced to conduct a formal interview with law enforcement.
Byrd made a point to note that he had been investigated by several law enforcement agencies and was exonerated by the federal government for his actions when he appeared on “NBC Nightly News” with Lester Holt.
“There’s an investigative process and I was cleared by the DOJ, and FBI and Metropolitan Police,” he told Holt this past August.
According to several sources and documents reviewed by RealClearInvestigations, Byrd never conducted a formal interview with any law enforcement agency.
Byrd did answer questions about the shooting from Holt, alleging that he gave Babbitt a warning before firing. but these details were likely never shared with investigators because Byrd refused to answer their questions.
“He didn’t provide any statement to investigators, and they didn’t push him to make a statement,” Babbitt family attorney Terry Roberts told RealClearInvestigations in an interview. “It’s astonishing how skimpy his investigative file is.”
Despite Byrd’s claim that he issued a warning, documents uncovered by Judicial Watch revealed that multiple eyewitnesses — including three police officers who were on the scene — told investigators they did not hear Byrd give Babbitt any verbal warnings prior to firing.
Roberts, who has spoken with the D.C. Metro Police detective assigned to the case, said the soft treatment of Byrd raises suspicions the investigation was a “whitewash.”
A D.C. MPD spokeswoman confirmed that Byrd did not cooperate with internal affairs agents or FBI agents, who jointly investigated the shooting. “MPD did not formally interview Lt. Byrd,” deputy D.C. MPD communications director Kristen Metzger said. And, “He didn’t give a statement while under the U.S. Attorney’s Office investigation.”
After Byrd declined to cooperate with D.C MPD Internal Affairs Division’s investigation, which was led by Det. John Hendrick, his case was turned over to the U.S. Capitol Police (UCSP) for a final administrative review. The USCP concluded in August that “the officer’s conduct was lawful and within department policy.”
The agency launched its administrative investigation after the criminal investigation was closed.
In April, Byrd was cleared of criminal wrongdoing by the Justice Department, which declined to impanel a grand jury to hear evidence. RealClearInvestigations noted that this was a notable departure from other lethal police-shooting cases involving unarmed citizens.
The DOJ ruled there “was not enough evidence” to conclude Byrd violated Babbitt’s civil rights or willfully acted recklessly in shooting her.
Byrd remains the commander in charge of security for the House of Representatives.
Byrd waited to speak on the shooting until he was cleared of any criminal wrongdoing. Days after being cleared, he conducted the heavily promoted “exclusive” interview with NBC News in which viewers hold only Byrd’s account with no opposing questions or viewpoints.
“I believe I showed the utmost courage on Jan. 6,” Byrd said in the interview.