Federal prosecutors will not bring charges in Ashli Babbitt death
Federal prosecutors said Wednesday that they would not file charges against the U.S. Capitol Police officer who shot and killed Ashli Babbitt during the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol.
Babbitt, who was 35, was one of the five people who died as a result of the riot as supporters of former President Trump overran the Capitol while Congress was preparing to certify President Biden’s Electoral College victory.
Her shooting was captured on video just outside the House chambers where a crowd was trying to make its way past police.
In a statement on Wednesday, the U.S. Attorney’s office in Washington, D.C., said that after investigating the shooting, prosecutors found “no evidence to establish beyond a reasonable doubt ” that it was unlawful.
“Specifically, the investigation revealed no evidence to establish that, at the time the officer fired a single shot at Ms. Babbitt, 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 statement reads. “Acknowledging the tragic loss of life and offering condolences to Ms. Babbitt’s family, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and U.S. Department of Justice have therefore closed the investigation into this matter.”
Prosecutors did not identify the officer who fired the single shot that struck Babbitt as she was climbing over a barricade erected outside an area known as the Speaker’s Lobby.
Babbitt was reportedly unarmed when she was shot.
According to the press release, officials from the Metropolitan Police Department’s internal affairs division have informed Babbitt’s family of the decision not to bring criminal charges.
Federal prosecutors in D.C. have brought criminal charges against hundreds of individuals who are accused of taking part in the riot. Those charges range from disorderly conduct and conspiracy to obstruction of an official proceeding, which carries a maximum possible sentence of 20 years in prison.
Authorities say Babbitt was the only person who was killed by police during the riot. Last week, the D.C. medical examiner’s office said that two other civilians died of natural causes while another succumbed to amphetamine intoxication.
Investigators have yet to reveal the cause of death for Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who died shortly after the riot. Prosecutors have charged two men with assaulting Sicknick during the mayhem with some sort of chemical irritant spray, but have not alleged that they were responsible for his death.
Updated at 2:16 p.m.