Monday, November 29th, 2021

Capitol Police Officer Who Shot Ashli Babbitt Breaks Silence

Capitol Police Officer Who Shot Ashli Babbitt Breaks Silence WASHINGTON, DC — The U.S. Capitol Police officer who killed pro-Trump rioter Ashli Babbitt revealed his identity Thursday in an interview with “NBC Nightly News,” defending his actions on Jan. 6.

The officer fatally shot Babbitt in the shoulder while she climbed through a window that led into the Speaker’s Lobby, adjacent to the House chamber, while lawmakers were evacuating.

“I know that day I saved countless lives,” Capitol Police Lt. Michael Byrd said in the interview. “I know members of Congress, as well as my fellow officers and staff, were in jeopardy and in serious danger. And that’s my job.”

Other Capitol Police officers and officers with the Metropolitan Police Department opted not to use their firearms when they were engaged in hand-t0-hand combat because they suspected they would have been killed by the mob, which far outnumbered them.

At other political events in D.C. in recent years, Capitol Police and other police agencies came equipped with far more weaponry and had far greater numbers to police the demonstrators.

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On Jan. 6, the Capitol Police, along with other police agencies, were ill-prepared for the violent attacks by the supporters of then-President Donald Trump, including many members of the police and military. At least 52 active or retired military, law enforcement or government service employees have been arrested in connection with their participation in the insurrection.

“I tried to wait as long as I could,” Byrd said of the incident in the doorway. “I hoped and prayed no one tried to enter through those doors. But their failure to comply required me to take the appropriate action to save the lives of members of Congress and myself and my fellow officers.”

The Justice Department said in April that Byrd would not be criminally charged in connection with Babbitt’s death, and the U.S. Capitol Police said Monday that he would not face any internal discipline. He could still face civil litigation from Babbitt’s family, which has threatened a lawsuit.

Byrd, a 28-year veteran of the Capitol Police force, explained that he repeatedly yelled at the rioters to stop trying to break through the barricaded door to the Speaker’s Lobby.

Byrd said in the interview he has received death threats, some of them racist in nature. His name made it online somehow, even though the Capitol Police and Department of Justice had not officially released his name out of concern that Trump supporters would target him.

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