The following article contains editorial content written by a retired Chief of Police and current staff writer for Law Enforcement Today.
WASHINGTON, DC- For anyone who isn’t a left-wing hack, the murder of unarmed Ashli Babbitt at the U.S. Capitol by a still “officially” unidentified plainclothes Capitol police officer has been steeped in mystery since the day it happened.
Lending more mystery to the killing is the fact the officer still remains anonymous by official sources and was cleared of any wrongdoing, despite Babbitt being unarmed and not posing a threat to anyone. She was the only person who died during the siege at the U.S. Capitol on January 6.
Now, even more mystery has emerged, as Judicial Watch uncovered a trove of documents, 1160 pages to be exact, Gateway Pundit revealed.
In a press release, Judicial Watch revealed the release of the documents, received from Washington, D.C.’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME). One startling revelation Judicial Watch found was that the OCME had requested permission to cremate Babbitt’s body only two days after taking custody of it.
Also, due to the “’high profile nature’ of Babbitt’s case, Deputy Chief Medical Examiner Francisco Diaz requested that a secure electronic file with limited access be created for Babbitt’s records,” Judicial Watch said.
In another bizarre revelation, Babbitt’s fingerprints were allegedly emailed to a person working for the D.C. government, which resulted in Microsoft “undeliverable” messages, written in Chinese being returned. Quite odd.
The death of Babbitt occurred while she was in the area of a broken window in the Capitol Building, outside of the Speaker’s Lobby adjacent to the House Floor during the January 6 incident.
As stated, Babbitt was unarmed and presented a threat to nobody. In fact, there were several police officers standing just behind Babbitt in the crowd of protesters where Babbitt stood when she was gunned down.
Had she be deemed an imminent threat, common sense would dictate those officers would have intervened.
On April 8, 2021, Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit concerning two Freedom of Information (FOIA) requests submitted by the watchdog group to the Metropolitan Police Department and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for records related to Babbitt’s murder (Judicial Watch v. The District of Columbia, No. 2021 CA 001710B).
Contained within the newly released records:
- On January 8, 2021, at 7:13 p.m., an application to cremate the body of Babbitt is labeled “completed successfully.” Copies of the permit are sent to OCME officials Kimberli Hall and SaVern Fripp, as well as Melinda Smith, Jennifer Love, Lisa Tabron, Jeanette Belle, and Perlieshia Gales.
- In a January 6, 2021 email sent at 9:48 p.m. from OCME official Denise Lyles to medical examiner Francisco Diaz, the subject line is, “Case #21-00106 ID Confirmed.” [Case 21-00106 was Ashli Babbitt’s file number.]
- On January 6, 2021, at 9:43 p.m., Lyles emails OCME official Dr. Jennifer Love an attachment with the message, “I am updating the information we received from IAD [Internal Affairs Division] re the confirmed ID for OCME Case #21-00106 [Ashli Babbitt’s case]. These are the prints that returned from the FBI, that the detectives from IAD provided. I dropped them in the e-case file. Their names are noted below.”
Judicial Watch notes that Lyles appeared to forward the file after she received it at 9:33 p.m. on January 6 from someone (name redacted) within the Prince George’s County, MD, Police Criminal Investigation Division, assigned to the “Homicide Unit-FBI/Cross Border Task Force. The file was attached to an email set to that individual at 9:30 p.m. on January 6 from an email address of [email protected].
- On January 6, 2021, at 7:42 p.m. OCME official Jamie Spann emailed a scanned file called “21-00106 FBI Submission Form” to Grant Greenwalt, Manager of the Crime Series Sciences unit of the DC Department of Forensic Sciences, as well as someone with the email address of [email protected], and copying medical examiners Francisco Diaz and Jennifer Love, asking, “Please run the attached prints.” This document apparently contained Ashli Babbitt’s fingerprints.
The request was then forwarded from Greenwalt to David Chumbley, an officer with the DC Metro Police Department. Chumbley then forwarded those prints from his iPhone at 8:06 p.m. on January 6 to a person identified as Jamese Kororma within DC city government.
An internet search was unable to locate anyone by that name in the DC city government. That is the email that resulted in the numerous Microsoft “undeliverable” messages being returned in what appeared to be Chinese characters.
- On January 7, 2021, Forensics photographer Matthew Brown emailed OCME colleagues regarding Babbitt’s case tagged as “High” importance, stating, “Due to the high-profile nature of case 21-00106, Dr. Diaz has requested limited access to this case. Please create a secure folder on the photo server for case 21-00106 and provide access only to the following OCME staff: Dr. Mitchell, Dr. Diaz, Anna Francis, Matthew Brown.”
Brown continued, adding, “Currently there are no images or folders on the photo server for this case. The images are being held on the OCME archiving server until a secure folder is created.”
Judicial Watch said that two hours later, OCME’s Chief Information Officer responded two hours later, “The requested directory has been created with the stipulated access granted. Please let me know if any additional adjustments are required.”
Brown replied to that message, “Thank you Mike. The case photos are now available on the server.”
In a separate response to Coleman, OCME Records Manager responded, “I have restricted the e-case file as well. For work purposes, the following groups have access, please let me know if permissions should be limited further: 1. Anna Francis; 2. MLI Investigations; 3. Medical Examiners; 4. Michael Coleman; 5. Roger Mitchell; 6. QC-n-RecMgmt; 7. Investigators.”
- In a January 14, 2021, email from Deputy Chief Toxicologist Stephen Raso to OCME colleague Samantha Tolliver with the subject “Capital Riot Cases,” Raso states, “See attached prelim results.”
- In a February 2, 2021, email from OCME official Andrea Pugh to medical examiner Dr. Francisco Diaz, Pugh indicated that the preliminary toxicology report on Babbitt was completed.
- On January 13, 2021, Dr. Francisco Diaz emailed Chief Medical Examiner/Deputy Mayor Roger Mitchell with the note, “21-00106: COD- Gunshot wound to left anterior shoulder. MOD- Homicide:” (COD is “Cause of Death” and MOD means “Manner of Death.”
- The OCME didn’t release the cause and manner of Ashli Babbitt’s death until April 7, 2021:
Ashli Babbitt, 35 years old:
Cause of Death- Gunshot wound to the left anterior shoulder
Manner of Death- Homicide
- In a January 9, 2021, email, Lead Forensic Investigator Rebecca Wood tells OCME officials, “I spoke with the family for the above case and her legal last name is ‘Babbitt.’ CMS has been updated to reflect this change, please update the death certificate as well.”
- In a subsequent January 8, 2021, email sent at 3:45 p.m., OCME official Denise Lyles messages her OCME colleagues with the subject “Capitol Incident Cases,” and notes, “FYI, all the cases from the Capitol Incident all identifications have been confirmed,’ adding, “Ashli Elizabeth Pamatian aka A. babbitt- partner/husband notified.”
- The records included identification records for “Ashli Elizabeth Pamatian,” including a copy of an FBI fingerprint submission card, a State Department visa check record “for identification purposes,” and a separate FBI fingerprint submission card that indicated that the “Official Taking Fingerprints” in the Babbitt case was “E. Betts.”
Babbitt’s body was alternatively listed as “Unidentified female,” and “WF.”
The DC government form included in the record states:
“The District of Columbia Officer of the Chief Medical Examiner has recovered human remains and is requesting AFIS fingerprint database searches for identification purposes,” and the “transaction type” on the form indicates “Unidentified Deceased (DEU Transaction).
In the comments section is the note, “Please attempt to identify this unidentified female who was discovered deceased on 01/06/2021 in Washington, DC.”
The form continues to ask the response be faxed to OCME official Jennifer Love. An X-ray log sheet indicates that three “LODOX” images of Babbitt’s body were taken by a technician with the initials RK.
- Further, an email sent on January 18, 2021, in which Deputy Chief Medical Examiner Francisco Diaz sends an attachment with Babbitt’s case file number to the OCME officials Kristina Giese and Kimberly Golden, which stated, “Please review this homicide.”
- In a subsequent email sent on March 1, 2021, OCME official Cheryle Adams sent a message to colleagues Beverly Fields and Dr. Francisco Diaz (copying Mayor’s office spokeswoman Olivia Dedner), advising them that she was providing an updated spreadsheet of reporters seeking information on the people who died at “the January 6, 2021, Insurrection at the Capitol.”
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton released the following statement:
“There is intense public interest in the shooting of Ashli Babbitt at the Capitol on January 6. The continued secrecy and delayed release of information about the shooing death of Ashli Babbitt are suspicious and smacks of politics. That Americans still have no information who killed her or any police report about her death is a scandal of epic proportions.”
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Judicial Watch noted they have still not received a response from the DC Metropolitan Police Department relative to their FOIA request, part of the organization’s continuing and ongoing investigation into the January 6 incident.
Judicial Watch noted they had filed a lawsuit in March seeking documents about the death of Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, who we were originally told died from being struck in the head with a fire extinguisher, a story which was allowed to fester for weeks.
Judicial Watch said that as a result of this lawsuit, it was eventually discovered that Off. Sicknick had died from natural causes.
Judicial Watch has also filed lawsuits seeking emails and video from the U.S. Capitol Police related to the January 6 incident and are also seeking communications from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s communications with the Pentagon in the days after the incident.
It has been reported that the National Guard had been requested by former Capitol chief of police Steven Sund in the days leading up to the incident, and former Trump defense official Kash Patel said the Pentagon offered use of the Guard as well, a request which was turned down.
While the US Capitol Police and other investigative agencies have refused to identify the officer, despite promises to “share additional information once the investigation is complete,” they have stonewalled releasing information to the public.
In addition, DC Metro Police also concluded their “investigation” of Babbitt’s shooting “without any findings” spokeswoman Kristen Metzger said at the time. The head of the Capitol police officer’s union says the USCP continues “stonewalling the public.”
“That’s my department’s attorneys for you,” said Chairman Gus Papathanasiou to RealClearInvestigations (RCI). “There is definitely a transparency issue. The department needs to answer those questions. They are stonewalling the public.”
Unfortunately the lack of transparency has led to people being misidentified as the shooter, with one officer, whom we won’t identify, being incorrectly identified as the shooter on social media and some conservative news sites.
RCI called attention to the false rumor in an email to the Capitol Police, leading the communications chief for the agency to officially dismiss it as “misinformation.”
However, a name has surfaced and in a classic case of “if it sounds like a duck, it’s a duck,” it appears this may have some teeth to it. Lt. Michael Byrd’s name has surfaced as the officer, and according to RCI, USCP Communications Director won’t confirm, nor deny that he is in fact the officer who killed Ashli Babbitt.
Photos released from January 6 of the shooter appear to match Byrd, who on that date was wearing a business suit. In addition, jewelry, including a beaded bracelet and a lapel pin match up with photos of Byrd.
In addition, during a brief discussion of the shooting at a Feb. 25 House hearing, Byrd was in fact cited by the acting House sergeant-at-arms as being the officer responsible for shooting Babbitt.
RCI notes that both C-SPAN and CNN removed the officer’s name from transcripts, however CQ Transcripts—which RCI notes according to its website provides “the complete word from Capitol Hill; exactly as it was spoken”—recorded Timothy Blodgett, the Capitol official referring to the cop as “Officer Byrd.” RCI notes his name is clearly audible in the videotape of the hearing.
Also, Byrd’s resume is a near exact match for what is known about the experience and position of the officer who shot and killed Babbitt—a veteran USCP officer holding the rank of lieutenant and is the commander of the House Chamber Section of the Capitol Police.
Ironically after the shooting, Byrd’s internet profile was scrubbed, including social media and personal photos. Strange, right?
In June, Ashli Babbitt’s husband Aaron appeared on Tucker Carlson Tonight with his attorney, Terrell Roberts. During the interview, Roberts confirmed that the officer who shot Ashli Babbitt is the same officer, Capitol Police officer Lt. Mike Byrd, who had left his loaded gun in a men’s bathroom on Capitol Hill in 2019. That information was confirmed by Gateway Pundit.
Tucker Carlson Interviewing Aaron Babbitt (Ashli's Husband) & Terry Roberts (Babbitt Family's Lawyer) About Their Lawsuit Demanding Answers About Ashli's Death
Tucker: "Who shot your wife on January 6th?"
Aaron: "I don't know…Nobody is telling us & the silence is deafening." pic.twitter.com/CgUsAojdgN
— The Columbia Bugle 🇺🇸 (@ColumbiaBugle) June 15, 2021
That incident, in February 2019 led to Byrd being investigated for leaving his department-issued Glock 22 unattended in a restroom on the House side of the US Capitol. The weapon, which doesn’t have a manual safety is a .40 caliber firearm. The abandoned firearm was discovered by another officer during a routine security sweep. It should be noted that a Glock 22 was used in Babbitt’s killing.
RCI noted they attempted to reach out to Byrd in July where Byrd remained on paid administrative leave. His attorney would neither confirm nor deny that he is in fact the officer who killed Babbitt.
Babbitt’s husband Aaron is frustrated by the lack of transparency over his wife’s murder, with the agency refusing to release information about the incident other than a brief and vaguely written statement from January 7, where they said, “”[A] sworn USCP employee discharged their service weapon, striking an adult female.” That’s it.
Unfortunately, Congress has exempted the Capitol Police from FOIA requests, so the family is suing the DC Metro police “for documents that identify the officer who shot Babbitt…as well as notes and summaries of what the officer said regarding the shooting and the reasons he discharged his weapon.” The hearing in the matter isn’t scheduled until Sept. 3.
Aaron Babbitt is understandably upset by the stonewalling.
“They sit back, and they completely refuse to release the name of their own police officer that was involved in a shooting of an unarmed woman. It’s ridiculous, it’s absolutely ridiculous,” he said.
Terry Roberts, Babbitt’s attorney is a Maryland-based lawyer specializing in police abuse cases. He plans on filing a wrongful death suit against the USCP and the officer, seeking at least $10 million in damages.
Roberts said he contacted the USCP’s general counsel about the case in May but has yet to hear back. He did note that an investigator in his office has positively identified the shooter through a “painstaking” analysis of photos and videos taken by journalists and witnesses present at the Capitol that day, as well as tips from citizens and other information.
One key witness is Taylor Hansen, a freelance journalist who attends protests around the country, and who happened to be outside the Speaker’s Lobby with Babbitt. Hansen is claimed to have identified Byrd as the officer who gunned Babbitt down, striking her in the lower left shoulder.
“Hansen was present when Ashli was shot,” Roberts told RCI. “He has spoken with my investigator. He provided a reliable and accurate account of what he saw; he also made a video recording which proved useful.”
Roberts noted that he isn’t yet ready to name Byrd as a defendant in the lawsuit until a threshold for filing personal injury claims against government agencies and employees is complete. He confirmed however, to RCI, “He’s a guy who left his service revolver in a bathroom.”
According to RCI, over 700 complaints were filed against Capitol police officers between 2017 and 2019, however USCP brass won’t divulge what the allegations involved nor how they were resolved. The agency does have an inspector general, however his reports are not made public such as other government IGs.
This whole thing flies in the face of Washington, DC law, which requires police identify any officer involved in a police shooting within five business days after an officer-involved death or serious use of force. Officials are required to publicly release the names and body camera recordings of all officers involved in death or use of force. Unfortunately, that law too doesn’t cover the Capitol Police.
Babbitt’s death and the lack of transparency within the Capitol Police has gotten the attention of some lawmakers. Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), who sits on the House Oversight Committee is one such lawmaker.
“In many instances, when a law enforcement officer kills an individual for any reason, that officer’s name is publicly released. But not int the case of Ashli Babbitt,” Gosar said. “Instead there is a determined effort to cover up the full circumstances of this homicide.”
Mark Schamel, the Washington attorney ostensibly defending Byrd, would not confirm his name, warning that revealing his client’s name could put his life in jeopardy. He noted the officer has received “credible” death threats, and has gone into hiding, without providing details as to the contents of those threats.
However RCI said USCP General Counsel Tad DiBiase told them in an email that “one of our officers has received death threats, threats to his family, and numerous vile, racist sentiments directed at the officers.” He did not elaborate further but said the “threats are currently under active investigation by the USCP and the FBI.”
RCI said both the FBI and the USCP refused to answer when asked if any threats had been directed to Byrd.
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