This past Wednesday, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that the investigation into the death of Ashli Babbitt, who died in the January 6th Capitol riot, has been closed. The DOJ has determined that it is not planning to seek any criminal charges against the officer who fatally shot her during the riots.
The Department of Justice stated that it had determined that no charges would be filed after going over all of the video footage evidence of the incident, taking various statements from the officers and witnesses, inspecting the physical evidence of the scene, and reviewing the autopsy report. The DOJ stated that its prosecutors would not have enough evidence to prove that the officer who fatally shot Babbitt used constitutionally unreasonable force with a “bad purpose to disregard the law.”
Ashli Babbitt, aged 35, was part of a group of people who died during the Capitol riots. The officer of the D.C. Medical Examiner determined that Babbitt died due to a gunshot wound in the left shoulder and that two of the other deaths that day were attributed to natural causes, both said to be because of cardiovascular disease. The medical examiner also found out that the fourth person’s death was an accident that was caused by “acute amphetamine intoxication.”
The medical examiner has as of yet not determined a cause of death for Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who died in the hospital on January 7th after he was injured in the riot.
In February, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Department of Justice had been performing an excessive force investigation over Babbitt’s death, but had not gathered enough evidence to bring up charges against the officer who shot her. They went on to say that people who were familiar with the matter also told the WSJ that while investigators had preliminarily determined that charges against the officer in question were not warranted, a final decision would have to be made at a later date.
The Department of Justice issued a statement this past Wednesday reads, in part:
“The investigation further determined that Ms. Babbitt was among a mob of people that entered the Capitol building and gained access to a hallway outside “Speaker’s Lobby,” which leads to the Chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives. At the time, the USCP was evacuating Members from the Chamber, which the mob was trying to enter from multiple doorways. USCP officers used furniture to barricade a set of glass doors separating the hallway and Speaker’s Lobby to try and stop the mob from entering the Speaker’s Lobby and the Chamber, and three officers positioned themselves between the doors and the mob. Members of the mob attempted to break through the doors by striking them and breaking the glass with their hands, flagpoles, helmets, and other objects. Eventually, the three USCP officers positioned outside the doors were forced to evacuate. As members of the mob continued to strike the glass doors, Ms. Babbitt attempted to climb through one of the doors where glass was broken out. An officer inside the Speaker’s Lobby fired one round from his service pistol, striking Ms. Babbitt in the left shoulder, causing her to fall back from the doorway and onto the floor. A USCP emergency response team, which had begun making its way into the hallway to try and subdue the mob, administered aid to Ms. Babbitt, who was transported to Washington Hospital Center, where she succumbed to her injuries.”