While the probe into the Capitol Police’s fatal shooting of the Trump supporter Ashli Babbitt during the January 6 unrest is ongoing, multiple outlets have reported it is unlikely the officer involved will face charges.
Babbitt, 35, was part of the crowd that swarmed the Capitol during the joint session of Congress that was meeting to certify the 2020 US presidential election results. Video recorded by other protesters showed Babbitt getting shot in the throat as she was trying to climb through the broken window into the Speaker’s Lobby. She died later that day.
Investigators looking into the shooting don’t believe they will find enough evidence to charge the Capitol Police lieutenant involved, the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and NBC news all reported on Tuesday, citing anonymous sources.
The Capitol Police and the Washington, DC Metropolitan Police Department declined to comment on the ongoing investigation, while the Department of Justice did not respond to inquiries, NBC reported. The outlet did get a statement from the attorney representing the officer, who has not been identified.
Mark E. Schamel told NBC that his client “used clear appropriate use of force. It’s not even a close call,” adding that “I think it’s his heroism and his restraint that saved lives.”
In addition to Babbitt, whose fatal shooting was caught on video, three more demonstrators were pronounced dead on January 6, though their causes of death were not publicly revealed. One Capitol Police officer who was on duty that day reportedly committed suicide later.
Another, Officer Brian Sicknick, collapsed and died at a local hospital on January 7. The Capitol Police said he had been “injured while physically engaging with protesters.” However, the details of his injuries or autopsy results showing the cause of death have yet to be made public. Initial accounts claimed that Sicknick was struck by a fire extinguisher thrown by a protester, but CNN reported on Tuesday that the investigators have ruled that out.
Sicknick’s body is scheduled to lie in state at the Capitol beginning on Tuesday evening, before he is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
Democrats have blamed President Donald Trump for “inciting insurrection” on January 6 by challenging the results of the November 2020 presidential election, voting to impeach him a week after the riot.
Following the unrest, 25,000 National Guard troops were deployed to Washington, DC to guard the inauguration of Democrat Joe Biden. While some of them have since been withdrawn, more than 5,000 will remain at least through the end of March.
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