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Officer who fatally shot Ashli Babbitt on Jan. 6 is cleared by Capitol Police amid threats

Internal review finds shooting was ‘lawful’ and within department policy

Rioters attempt to enter the Capitol on Jan. 6 during a joint session of Congress to certify the Electoral College vote.
Rioters attempt to enter the Capitol on Jan. 6 during a joint session of Congress to certify the Electoral College vote. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Capitol Police officer who fatally shot pro-Trump rioter Ashli Babbitt during the Jan. 6 riot as she was trying to breach the Speaker’s Lobby through a broken window has been cleared by the department’s Office of Professional Responsibility and will not face disciplinary action.

The Capitol Police, which did not identify the male lieutenant citing threats he and his family have received, said in a statement Monday that it “determined the officer’s conduct was lawful and within Department policy, which says an officer may use deadly force only when the officer reasonably believes that action is in the defense of human life, including the officer’s own life, or in the defense of any person in immediate danger of serious physical injury.”

The Department of Justice announced in April that it would not criminally charge the officer.

Babbitt’s death has been cast by some House Republicans, such as Arizona’s Paul Gosar, as a sort of cover-up. Gosar has sought to publicly identify the officer who fatally shot Babbitt.

Former President Donald Trump said in an Aug. 11 statement that he had spoken with Babbitt’s family to offer condolences. Trump said Babbitt was “murdered at the hands of someone who should never have pulled the trigger of his gun. We know who he is.”

The Capitol Police said the officer and his family have “been the subject of numerous credible and specific threats for actions that were taken as part of the job of all our officers: defending the Congress, Members, staff and the democratic process.”

During the insurrection, Babbitt, 35, tried to climb through a broken window opening and into the Speaker’s Lobby, which adjoins the House floor. At the time Babbitt was climbing in, members were present on the floor and in the lobby while being evacuated. The Capitol Police officer fired his pistol and hit Babbitt in the left shoulder with a single round, causing Babbitt to fall back onto the floor. She was transported to Washington Hospital Center, where she died.

“The actions of the officer in this case potentially saved Members and staff from serious injury and possible death from a large crowd of rioters who forced their way into the U.S. Capitol and to the House Chamber where Members and staff were steps away,” the Capitol Police said.

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