The family of deceased Jan. 6th rioter Ashli Babbitt has filed a $30 million lawsuit against the federal government over her untimely death.
As previously reported, Babbitt was shot and killed by Capitol Police Lt. Michael Byrd during the Jan. 6th, 2021 riot.
“When protesters rushed to the House chamber, police barricaded the chamber’s doors; Capitol Police were on both sides, with officers standing directly behind Babbitt,” according to a summary of her death written by legal scholar Jonathan Turley.
“Babbitt and others began to force their way through, and Babbitt started to climb through a broken window. That is when Byrd killed her,” the summary continues.
The long-awaited tort action from the family of Ashli Babbitt has now been filed in Southern California. The complaint adds some troubling facts to prior concerns over the government’s investigation and findings on the only shooting in the Jan. 6th riot. https://t.co/4BCbKOh4Sd
— Jonathan Turley (@JonathanTurley) January 7, 2024
Following the shooting, it was ruled justified and Byrd was cleared, much to the chagrin of Babbitt’s family.
In a suit filed last week by Judicial Watch on behalf of Babbitt’s husband, Aaron Babbitt, it’s made clear that Aaron believes his wife did nothing wrong, let alone anything worthy of death.
“Ashli loved her country and wanted to show her support for President Trump’s America First policies and to see and hear the president speak live while he remained in office,” the suit reads.
“Ashli did not go to Washington as part of a group or for any unlawful or nefarious purpose. She was there to exercise what she believed were her God-given, American liberties and freedoms,” it continues.
The suit reportedly goes on to accuse Byrd of having used excessive force.
This murderer Michael Byrd says he showed the utmost courage on January 6.
He claims he shot her (even though there were police right beside her on the other side) because he believed “she was posing a threat to the US House of Representatives.”
So no threat to him?? pic.twitter.com/XB353epRWv
— Texas (@MustangMan_TX) January 7, 2024
“Lt. Byrd later confessed that he shot Ashli before seeing her hands or assessing her intentions or even identifying her as female. Ashli was unarmed. Her hands were up in the air, empty, and in plain view of Lt. Byrd and other officers in the lobby,” the suit reads.
The suit also claims that Babbitt never saw Byrd, and that it wouldn’t matter anyway because he hadn’t identified himself as a police officer or issued any warnings or commands.
“Ashli could not have seen Lt. Byrd, who was positioned far to Ashli’s left and on the opposite side of the doors, near an opening to the Retiring Room, a distance of approximately 15 feet and an angle of approximately 160 degrees,” the suit reads. “Sgt. Timothy Lively, one of the armed officers guarding the lobby doors from the hallway, later told officials investigating the shooting, ‘I saw him . . . there was no way that woman would’ve seen that.'”
“Lt. Byrd, who was not in uniform, did not identify himself as a police officer or otherwise make his presence known to Ashli. Lt. Byrd did not give Ashli any warnings or commands before shooting her dead,” it continues.
— Tom Fitton (@TomFitton) January 5, 2024
More menacingly, the suit also notes that Byrd lied through his teeth after the shooting by claiming the rioters had been shooting at him first.
“At 2:45 p.m., or within one minute after shooting Ashli, Lt. Byrd made the following radio call: ‘405B. We got shots fired in the lobby. We got shots shots fired in the lobby of the House chamber. Shots are being fired at us and we’re prepared to fire back at them. We have guns drawn. Please don’t leave that end. Don’t leave that end,'” the suit notes.
“Approximately 35 seconds later, Lt. Byrd made another radio call, stating, ‘405B. We got an injured person. I believe that person was shot.’ In fact, no shots were fired at Lt. Byrd or his fellow officers. The only shot fired was the single shot Lt. Byrd fired at Ashli.”
In his summary write-up, Turley argues that these “credible allegations” may just be enough to convince a judge to move forward with “discovery,” a process that would allow even more of the truth to be unveiled.
J6ers in the Capitol stairwell. Down the hall a man casually walking. Ashli Babbitt with no weapon stands on the door with three SWAT officers right behind her and Lt. Michael Byrd shoots and kills her. Byrd was promoted to captain. Ashli Babbitt is dead. pic.twitter.com/10TrBZLwWX
— Ken Miles (@kenmilesamerica) December 30, 2023
In a statement, Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton outright called the shooting “unlawful” and Babbitt’s death “wrongful.”
“The only homicide on January 6 was the unlawful shooting death of Ashli Babbitt,” he said. “Her homicide by Lt. Byrd is a scandal beyond belief. This historic lawsuit seeks a measure of justice and government accountability for Ashli’s wrongful death.”
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