The lawyer for the family of Ashli Babbitt has issued a press release, slamming the “lack of transparency” from the Capitol Police, and will take “appropriate legal action” to get justice.
Babbitt, an Air Force veteran who had served four tours, was shot by a Capitol Police officer during the protests on Capitol Hill on January 6th when she entered the building along with hundreds of others. Her husband had described her as a “strong supporter of President Trump and a great patriot to all who knew her.”
An eyewitness told National File that Babbitt, who was unarmed, had begun to climb up onto a windowsill near the Senate chambers, and was then shot:
“As she had both feet in the windowsill, her hands were on the sides of the window, a man inside, not a uniform, he had a suit on, fired one shot, hitting her up in this region somewhere [indicates to neck]. She fell out of the window. The police that were there would not let me assist. I am trained in emergency medical services. They would not let me assist… They pushed me out of the way, and I stood there and I watched this young woman die.”
However, investigators looking into her fatal shooting determined that the officer, who has still not been identified in any capacity, should not face charges. The preliminary investigation was concluded at the start of last month. Terrell N. Roberts III, the lawyer for the Babbitt family, issued a press release on Friday, arguing that her death was the result of “an unjustified use of deadly force which violated her constitutional rights,” in opposition to the investigators’ findings.
“It is clear from video footage that Ashli did not pose a danger to the officer, or any other person, when she was shot,” the press release noted. “Ashli was unarmed. She did not assault anyone. She did not threaten to harm anyone. There was no excuse for taking her life,” it continued.
Terrell N. Roberts, III
Roberts and Wood
Attorney for Ashli Babbitt's husband and family members. pic.twitter.com/2TKL8d6gdb
— Justice For Ashli Babbitt (@ForAshli) March 5, 2021
The press release from Roberts, a lawyer who specializes in action against the police for brutality and misconduct, argued that Babbitt, who was 5’2 tall and 110 pounds, could have been arrested “by a single trained officer with a set of handcuffs,” and that as a veteran she would have likely responded to verbal commands. In fact, multiple officers did not even attempt to arrest her:
At the time of the shooting, there were over a half-dozen police officers in close proximity… Some of those officers had just allowed protestors access to the door by stepping aside. Other officers, dressed in full tactical gear, stood among the protestors just a few feet behind the door. Still others stood casually at the opposite end of the Speaker’s Lobby, unconcerned with the activities of Ashli and the protestors around her. All of these officers were in a position to have aided in the apprehension of Ashli if it was necessary.
However, the officer who shot her “never attempted to arrest her, nor did he call on his fellow officers to arrest her,” instead firing into her chest. “Witnesses confirm that the officer did not give Ashli a single verbal warning prior to firing,” the statement says. “In fact, Ashli was not even aware that the officer was present, as he was located in the doorway of a room off to the side of her field of vision,” it continues.
The statement slams the Capitol Police and the federal government as a whole for giving “no account of the facts” surrounding the shooting, nor any explanation or justification for the use of lethal force. “This lack of transparency impedes the public scrutiny which is necessary to hold government officials accountable… [and] also interferes with the ability of Ashli’s family to obtain justice for their loss,” the statement says.
As a result, Roberts and his firm Roberts and Wood “intend to take appropriate legal action” after their own investigation into Babbitt’s tragic killing has been completed. “We call upon the Capitol Police as well as the United States Congress to make public the facts and circumstances of Ashli’s shooting,” the statement concludes.