Ashli Babbitt, a former Air Force Veteran’s family has filed one of two civil suits in conjunction with her shooting death by a Capitol City Police Officer on the day of the Washington Protests.
The civil lawsuit was filed the first week of June in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, it asked the court to force the DC Metropolitan Police Department to turn over their records of their investigation into Babbitt’s death, CNBC reported.
The lawsuit also called for the Department to reveal the identity of the Capitol police officer who shot Babbitt as she was making her way through a window into the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6.
The civil suit came following the release of the U.S. Department of Justice’s announcement that the officer who killed Babbitt would not be charged with any criminal crime, CNBC reported.
Federal prosecutors stated in April that they had no intentions to charge the USCP lieutenant who shot Babbitt.
Authorities said they had investigated the officer-involved shooting during the breach of the U.S. Capitol building that left the 35-year-old veteran dead and determined the shooting was justified, the Associated Press reported.
Based on the findings of the investigation, prosecutors found there was insufficient evidence to prove that Babbitt’s civil rights had been violated by the USCP lieutenant, The Washington Post reported.
Prosecutors allege it was reasonable for the Capitol Police lieutenant who shot Babbitt to believe he was firing in self-defense or in the defense of the Congressional lawmakers and their staffs who were trying to flee the building at that time, the Associated Press reported.
It is important to note here that the Congressional Lawmakers had been evacuated moments before the shooting. Washington DC’s Self Defense law states, according to the jury instructions used in D.C. courts, a person can use force to defend themselves when they actually and reasonably believe that they’re in danger of serious bodily harm or death. However, a person is required to take reasonable steps – such as stepping back or walking away – that are consistent with the person’s own safety to try to avoid the necessity of taking someone’s life. A jury deciding whether a defendant acted reasonably must consider whether the defendant took those steps.
“Specifically, the investigation revealed no evidence to establish that, at the time the officer fired a single shot at Ms. Babbitt, the officer did not reasonably believe that it was necessary to do so in self-defense or in defense of the Members of Congress and others evacuating the House Chamber,” Department Of Justice said in a statement on April 14, the Associated Press reported.
“Based on that investigation, officials determined that there is insufficient evidence to support a criminal prosecution,” the statement read.
Officials involved in the investigation have not publicly released the name of the Officer who shot Babbitt.
The lawsuit filed stated that Babbitt’s husband, Aaron Babbitt, filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for the records of the investigation into his wife’s death with the DC police just days after the Department Of Justices announcement, CNBC reported.
The complaint said that DC Metro Police Department had “failed to comply” with the FOIA request when it missed a May 12 deadline to either provide the requested materials to Aaron Babbitt or notify him that his request had been denied.
Terrell Roberts, an attorney for Babbitt’s family, said the goal of the lawsuit was to find out what the DC Metro Police Departments investigation had uncovered and learn the name of the Capitol police officer who fatally shot Babbitt, CNBC reported.
Roberts said the family was also about to file a massive lawsuit against the Capitol police that would demand more than $10 million in recovery from the losses.
The attorney stated that the second lawsuit was not dependent on the discovery from the initial investigation and could move forward unimpeded.
Roberts told CNBC that the new complaint would allege that USCP violated Babbitt’s constitutional right against the use of excessive force “and possibly failure to train, discipline and supervise the officer who killed Babbitt.”
Mark Schamel, an attorney for the unnamed lieutenant who shot Babbitt, said that the prosecutors’ decision was “the only correct conclusion” to the investigation, The Washington Post reported.
“His bravery on January 6 was nothing short of heroic,” Schamel said in a statement. “He stopped the rioters from gaining entry into the Speaker’s Lobby and saved the lives of countless members of Congress and the rioters. His heroism should be no surprise to those who know him.”
He said Babbitt had also ignored orders to stop from numerous other police officers and that she broke multiple laws in the moments before she was shot, The Washington Post reported.
Babbitt was featured in numerous social media posts with pictures and video on the day of the Capitol riot.
Video from inside the U.S. Capitol building showed Babbitt wearing a backpack with an American flag on it as she stepped through a broken window into the Speaker’s Lobby, the Associated Press reported.
A gunshot can be heard in the video and then Babbitt fell backwards.
Prosecutors said the Capitol Police lieutenant fired one shot that struck Babbitt in the shoulder, the Associated Press reported.
Schamel said his client had shown restraint in his use of force, warning the rioters first by “clearly identifying himself and ordering the mob not to come through the barricade.”
“He used tremendous restraint in only firing one shot, and his actions stopped the mob from breaking through and turning a horrific day in American history into something so much worse,” the lieutenant’s attorney said.
The video shows Babbitt falling backwards out of the window as she was shot and landing on her back.
The video also shows that a police tactical team was behind her and attempts were made by individuals to provide immediate first aid.
Babbitt was pronounced dead at the hopsital.