Former President Donald Trump sent an email via his Save America PAC on Thursday asking, simply, "Who shot Ashli Babbitt?"
Ashli Babbitt, an Air Force veteran, was the only person killed during the Capitol riot on January 6, when Trump supporters entered the Capitol Building illegally with the intention of stopping a congressional vote to certify the Electoral College's vote for Joe Biden.
Babbitt was shot and killed by a Capitol Police Officer, and it was announced in April that no charges would be filed against that officer.
The Department of Justice closed the investigation into the police killing of veteran Ashli Babbitt, the unarmed woman who was part of the mob that unlawfully entered the Capitol Building in Washington, DC, on Jan. 6.
There has been little to no outcry over her death, though she was unarmed during that protest turned riot on that day, and her diminutive size posed no threat to the armed officers who sought to quell the crowd.
Babbitt was shot by an unnamed officer on Jan. 6 despite the fact that police were told not to use their most aggressive tactics in dealing with the mob on that day. The New York Times reported that "Capitol Police had clearer advance warnings about the Jan. 6 attack than were previously known, including the potential for violence in which 'Congress itself is the target.'"
Despite this, "officers were instructed by their leaders not to use their most aggressive tactics to hold off the mob," this according to a report by inspector general, Michael A. Bolton."
The report "found that the leaders ordered their Civil Disturbance Unit to refrain from using its most powerful crowd-control tools—like stun grenades—to put down the onslaught." A plan that was enacted for the protest stated that "there were 'no specific known threats related to the joint session of Congress.' And the former chief of the Capitol Police has testified that the force had determined that the likelihood of violence was 'improbable.'"
Babbitt's family announced in May that they would file a lawsuit against the Capitol Police for more than $10 million. Officials have been placed on notice as the family demands accountability for Babbitt's death.
"Right now, we have no accountability—zero accountability—they give no explanation to justify the shooting and they do not even identify the officer. That is what they do in autocratic countries, not in the United States," said Maryland-based attorney Terrell N. Roberts III to The Washington Times on Thursday.
Roberts said he'll sue the Capitol Police under the Federal Tort Claims Act, which requires six months notice before filing to sue in court. The family will also pursue claims against the unnamed officer who shot Babbitt.
The family attorney said he's reviewing video of the shooting that was captured by private citizens via personal cell phones. He said he also won't identify the officer by name at this time. "The purpose of the case is to hold the police officer and the Capitol Police accountable for violating Ashli Babbitt's constitutional right—that is the purpose," he clarified to The Washington Times.
The lawyer lambasted the members of Congress who oversee the Capitol Police for not having demanded transparency regarding the Jan. 6 shooting: "If we call ourselves a free people, you would think that Congress would be the first to demand transparency of its own police agency but you don't hear that."
Republican Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar, along with other GOP House reps., demanded to know who shot Babbitt. Babbitt was unarmed and wrapped in an American flag at the time of her death.
This is a breaking story and will be updated.
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