Officer Cleared In The Shooting Death Of Ashli Babbitt During Capitol Riot
The Department of Justice announced Wednesday it will not pursue charges against the U.S. Capitol Police officer who fatally shot a rioter inside the Capitol building on Jan. 6. Officials determined there wasn't enough evidence to support a criminal prosecution.
Following the shooting, an investigation was launched by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia's Public Corruption and Civil Rights Section and the Civil Rights Division, with the Metropolitan Police Department's Internal Affairs Division. According to a Justice Department statement, the investigation failed to provide evidence that the officer violated 18 U.S.C. § 242, depriving Babbitt of her rights under color of law.
"In order to establish a violation of this statute, prosecutors must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the officer acted willfully to deprive Ms. Babbitt of a right protected by the Constitution or other law, here the Fourth Amendment right not to be subjected to an unreasonable seizure," a DOJ statement read. "Prosecutors would have to prove not only that the officer used force that was constitutionally unreasonable, but that the officer did so 'willfully,' which the Supreme Court has interpreted to mean that the officer acted with a bad purpose to disregard the law."
The U.S. Attorney's Office and U.S. Department of Justice offered their condolences to Babbitt's family before closing the investigation.
Thirty-five-year-old Air Force veteran Ashli Babbitt was protesting against what she falsely considered to have been the illegitimate results of the 2020 presidential election results. A portion of the rioters, including Babbitt, forced their way into the Capitol building in an attempt to stop Congress from certifying the Electoral College votes.
Officers barricaded the doors of the Chamber of the House of Representatives as the mob tried to break into the room from multiple entrances. Babbitt was shot as she climbed through a broken door into the Speaker's Lobby. The bullet struck Babbitt in the left shoulder, and she later died from her wounds at Washington Hospital Center.
Five people died during or shortly after the Jan. 6 assault and hundreds of individuals are facing charges.
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