The United States Attorney’s office in Washington, D.C., is opening an “excessive force” probe into the death of pro-Trump protester Ashli Babbit, who was shot and killed while she and others attempted to storm a Congressional chamber during a riot at the United States Capitol last Wednesday.
Babbit, a 35-year-old Air Force veteran from California, was one of a number of protesters-turned-rioters who took part in the attack, overpowering Capitol Police and storming through the Capitol building, allegedly looking to target federal lawmakers and disrupt the vote certifying Democrat Joe Biden as the winner of the November presidential election. The riot resulted in five deaths, including Babbit’s.
A video, posted online, shows Babbit being shot in either the neck or the upper chest by a Capitol Police officer as she “rushed to the windows” of the Speaker’s Lobby as she and other rioters “swarmed the building,” per The New York Times. She was rushed to a hospital in critical condition and later died.
“A number of people and Secret Service were saying get back, get down, get out of the way,” a witness said, per a Daily Wire report last week. “She didn’t heed the call, and as we sort of raced up to grab people and pull them back, they shot her in the neck.”
“She fell back on me and started saying she was fine, it’s cool,” the witness continued. “Then she started kinda moving weird and blood was coming out of her mouth and neck and nose. And I don’t know if she’s alive or dead anymore.”
“The cop who fired the fatal bullet, who has not been identified, was put on leave this week pending the investigation,” the Daily Mail added on Sunday. “A Justice Department spokesperson told the Times the investigation into Babbitt’s death is just ‘routine’ and a standard procedure for when an officer uses lethal force. It will determine whether the officer used ‘excessive force’ against her.”
It is not apparent, from the video posted on social media networks, what events led up to the shooting, and the U.S. Attorney’s office is likely to look for information as to how and why the Capitol Police officer decided to use deadly force. As media outlets covering the attack reported this weekend, the incident was more intense than it originally seemed; Buzzfeed reported Saturday that the attack was a two-hour standoff, and photos on social media had “the effect of downplaying how well prepared some of the rioters were to overtake the building, and even to capture and kill Congress members.”
The U.S. Attorney’s office “has also opened a federal homicide investigation into the death of Brian D. Sicknick, a Capitol Hill police officer who died after pro-Trump rioters struck him with a fire extinguisher,” The New York Times added. “Mr. Sicknick died on Thursday from injuries sustained ‘while physically engaging’ with pro-Trump rioters who descended on the U.S. Capitol the day before.”
“Officer Sicknick was struck with a fire extinguisher, according to two law enforcement officials,” per the NYT. “He was rushed to the hospital and placed on life support, and died later on Thursday evening.”
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Author: Emily Zanotti