The following contains editorial content which is the opinion of the writer, a retired Chief of Police and current staff writer for Law Enforcement Today.
WASHINGTON, DC- For anyone who isn’t a left-wing idealogue, the murder of Ashli Babbitt at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, never appeared right. That is especially true for those who work in law enforcement, who have a deep understanding of the use of force and the use of force continuum.
That is especially true when one looks at some recent cases involving police use of force, from the Derek Chauvin case in Minneapolis to the Kim Potter trial in suburban Minneapolis.
Police officers also understand that when a life is taken at the hands of one of their own, there is a process that is followed, called an investigation.
In the case of Babbitt, shot and killed by US Capitol Police Lt. Michael Byrd, there never was an investigation, or at least a thorough one. And now more information has come forth that leads to further questions.
According to The Epoch Times, information has come forth that in the moments leading up to her execution by Byrd, Ashli Babbitt confronted police officers guarding the doors to the Speaker’s Lobby, excoriating them for allowing some rioters to smash the windows between a stairway and the Lobby and begging them to call for backup.
Because it appears that Babbitt knew there were some in her midst who were there for different reasons than she was.
A newly released video shows that Babbitt was pleading for police officers to do something as the rioters smashed windows.
This follows on recent disclosures that the Air Force veteran tried at least four other times to put a halt on the assault on the Speaker’s Lobby.
The video appears to show Babbitt becoming increasingly frustrated as police officers in the stairway stood by and did nothing as some violent persons damaged the partition, with one video showing someone smashing a window only inches from a police officer’s head, the Times noted.
Yet, that officer did nothing.
The video was shot by independent journalist Tayler Hansen, in which Babbitt is seen following one of the rioters, identified as Zachary Alam, and attempted to get in between him and at least one of three officers posted at the double doors between the stairway and the Speaker’s Lobby.
According to the Times, Alam, who was arrested by the FBI on Jan. 30, 2021, smashed at the windows in the double-doors at least twice. He grabbed one police officer’s shoulder with his left hand, then punches between that officer and a second one, striking the window, as seen in the video.
“Chill out! Chill the fuck out, bro!” someone who is unseen shouts. “Hey! Chill out!”
“These guys work for us!” someone else in the crowd shouted.
Yet another asks, believed to be rhetorically, “You gonna shoot him?”
At this point, a man in a Trump cap rues the fact that they are not being allowed to enter the Speaker’s Lobby.
“Mother fucker! We don’t want to hurt nobody,” said the bearded man.
“We just want to go into the House!”
At this time, Babbitt tries to insert herself between Alam and one of the police officers. Babbitt says something to Alam (undetectable) and he basically blows her off.
He then winds up and punches another window next to the officer, who again does nothing. This leads Babbitt to become incensed.
“Call fucking help!” Babbitt yells in an animated tone, jumping up and down in front of the officers.
“We’re allowed to be here!” she yelled again, at which time she steps back.
The officers basically just stood there, once again causing Babbitt to yell out in anger.
Ashli Babbitt confronted police officers for not stopping rioters pic.twitter.com/WfBeut82yT
— Parker (@ucorio) January 19, 2022
“You’re a fraud!” she shots. “You’re a fucking fraud! You’re wrong!” and then she walked away, however she could be heard yelling off camera, “Take it down!”
It is believed this was directed toward the crowd to “take…down” their tone, or calm down.
“You could tell she was definitely getting upset,” Hansen said. “She was calm when she first got there. Then as the destruction continued and as more people started to fill in and it got more dangerous, that’s when you can tell she was getting really upset.”
That was perhaps due to her Air Force career, where she served as a military police officer. According to Ashli’s husband Aaron, that likely tipped her off that something was wrong with the response of the police officers.
“I believe she saw their inaction as odd or off, and was ultimately confused as to what was happening,” Aaron told The Epoch Times. “She was a take-charge kind of person. Her frustrations show that the cops who should’ve been taking charge—weren’t,” he said.
Aaron Babbitt continued, noting that he had only previously seen bits and pieces of video, but had not seen it all put together.
“I can hear the confused panic in her voice,” he said.
Aaron said that watching the video saddens him because as a husband, he feels it is his role to protect his wife. He stayed back in San Diego to run their business while Ashli attended the Trump rally in Washington, D.C. He noted the fact she was trapped inside the small stairwell likely made her feel claustrophobic.
“She had no friends in that room,” Aaron Babbitt said. “I always go back to no one would’ve ever watched out for [her] like I always did. [I feel] very helpless.”
Aaron said he is hopeful the video gives the public a clearer picture of the chaos that took place in the stairway where Ashli was unceremoniously gunned down by Byrd.
“I’ve known something was off with the whole situation from day one,” Aaron said. “Hopefully, this gives other people a different perspective—or at a minimum makes someone take a second look with a different mindset.”
Meanwhile, Hansen agreed with Aaron Babbitt’s assessment that Ashli likely became claustrophobic from being stuck in the small stairwell area with a large group of people.
“What I think from reviewing the footage and just from knowing what I know about Ashli from the family is she probably got claustrophobic,” Hansen said, “because more and more people kept pouring in and she realized she was in a bad situation. So she pushed her way over to the window area.”
Hansen said that once the window was broken, Ashli Babbitt probably believed it “was going to be bad for the people inside if they were actually able to breach these doors entirely.”
“I think she wanted to be the first one through that window so she could kind of safeguard it, honestly. If she can get to the other side of the window where officers are, in her mind, she would be safe.”
Hansen also noted that he just discovered a livestream video he had posted to Instagram on Jan. 6 which showed Ashli Babbitt as she first turned the corner into the Speaker’s Lobby hallway. He noted that Ashli was friendly with police officers as she approached the doors.
“Ashli just walks right up to them and just seems super happy; doesn’t know what she’s about to walk into. She was joking with the cops right before Byrd put a bullet into her,” Hansen said.
Hansen said the first time he saw Ashli Babbitt was in the Capitol Rotunda as she walked into the building by herself. The next time he saw her, she was coming out of a room with George Washington’s portrait on the wall, then he followed her into the Speaker’s Lobby hallway. He said they were the first two to reach the double doors.
“It shows here and me just walking right up to the door with Officer Yetter and all the other cops and she starts talking to them.”
NeonNettle reports that Hansen also captured the moment Ashli was unceremoniously gunned down by Byrd. The situation in the hallway “quickly turned to panic—and anger,” the outlet reported.
“There’s an active shooter here! Get her down!” Hansen shouted, not yet realizing that Ashli had been shot.
“She needs help! She needs fucking help!” someone screamed.
At about the :38 second mark of the video, someone reached in to check Ashli’s pulse.
“She’s gone guys.”
The situation turned into mayhem, with people shouting for EMS.
“Back up guys, back up!”
Then, an officer who is leaning over a stairway shouts, “She’s going to fucking die! You want to be next?” he says.
“Go, go! Everyone get the fuck away!”
Hence, Ashli Babbitt became the only victim who died directly as a result of the January 6 “insurrection.” Byrd, who sources say, according to The Federalist refused to cooperate with an investigation into the shooting
That source is Babbitt family attorney Terry Roberts.
“He didn’t provide any statement to [criminal] investigators and they didn’t push him to make a statement, Roberts told Real Clear Investigations. “It’s astonishing how skimpy his investigative file is.”
Roberts claims the light treatment of Byrd, who one time famously left his loaded Glock 22 in a Capitol restroom, amounts to a “whitewash,” an analysis that seems to be backed up by a DC Metro Police internal affairs report, which notes Byrd “declined to provide a statement.”
A spokeswoman for the DC MPD acknowledged that Byrd “did not cooperate with internal affairs agents or FBI agents” who conducted a joint investigation of the shooting. Yet Byrd was not only “exonerated” of Ashli Babbitt’s shooting but is somehow back in charge of House security.
A US Capitol police review in August determined that “the officer’s conduct was lawful and within department policy.”
Police officers across the country would love to see a use of force policy which allows a police officer to use deadly physical force against someone who is unarmed and on the other side of a barrier some 40 feet or so away with others in close proximity.
Attorney General Merrick Garland’s Department of Justice would not even empanel a grand jury to hear evidence in the case, ruling there “was not enough evidence” to determine whether Byrd violated Ashli Babbitt’s civil rights or willfully acted recklessly in shooting her.
Whitewash? You decide.
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