Ashli ​​Babbitt’s Family Files $30 Million Lawsuit Over Jan. 6 Shooting Death

Photo of author


The family of a 35-year-old California woman who was fatal shot by a Capitol Police officer during the January 6 insurrection has filed a $30 million wrongful death lawsuit against the US government.

Ashli ​​Babbitt was shot and killed on January 6, 2021, while trying to climb through a broken door into the President’s Lobby outside the House of Representatives, as a mob of dozens of supporters of then-President Donald Trump broke into the Capitol as lawmakers prepared to certify the results of the 2020 election. The shooting was captured on cellphone video. Babbitt later died at a hospital.

In the lawsuit, which was filed Friday in federal court in Southern California, Babbitt’s family claimed she was unarmed and had her hands in the air when Capitol Police Lt. Michael Byrd shot her once. .

“Ashli ​​posed no threat to anyone’s safety,” the lawsuit states, going on to claim that she was “ambushed” by the officer.

The lawsuit also argued that Byrd was “not in uniform,” “did not identify himself as a police officer” and did not issue a warning before opening fire.

However, in August 2021, Capitol Police reported that an internal investigation had determined Byrd had acted within department policy, had not violated any laws and would not be disciplined for the shooting. The investigation also found that Byrd’s actions had “potentially saved members and staff from serious injury and possible death.”

“USCP officers had barricaded the President’s lobby with furniture before a rioter broke the glass door. If the doors were broken, the rioters would have immediate access to the House chambers,” Capitol Police said in a statement. that moment. “The officer’s actions were consistent with the officer’s training and USCP policies and procedures.”

Babbitt, an Air Force veteran, had traveled to Washington, D.C., from her home in San Diego because she “loved her country and wanted to show her support” for Trump, the lawsuit reads, adding that she “was not to Washington as part of a group or for any illegal or nefarious purpose.”

The lawsuit accuses the Capitol Police of assault and negligent use of force, among other allegations.

In March, Babbitt’s mother, Micki Witthoeft met with then-House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in his office. Before the meeting, Witthoeft had been leading the nightly Jan. 6 protests outside the D.C. jail for months.

Almost three years later, nearly 1,200 people so far they have been accused in connection with the Capitol riot, and more than 700 have pleaded guilty. According to investigators, 140 police officers were attacked at the Capitol.

In July 2021, as part of a plea agreement, the man who broadcast live Babbitt pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building.

CBS News reached out to Capitol Police for comment but did not immediately receive a response.

Robert Legare, Scott MacFarlane and Melissa Quinn contributed to this report.

Leave a comment