Judicial Watch Says It Has First-Hand Evidence From DC Police That Shooting Death of Ashli Babbitt Was ‘Unjustified’

By Katabella Roberts
Katabella Roberts
Katabella Roberts
Katabella Roberts is a reporter currently based in Turkey. She covers news and business for The Epoch Times, focusing primarily on the United States.
November 15, 2021 Updated: November 15, 2021

Judicial Watch has received first-hand evidence from the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department that the shooting death of Ashli Babbitt was “unjustified,” the conservative activist group announced on Nov.10.

The organization said in a statement that it has received new audio, video footage and photo records pertaining to the shooting death of Babbitt, including a cellphone video of the shooting itself, as well as a short police interview of the shooter, U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) officer, Lt. Michael Byrd.

Babbitt, 35, was among the crowd that breached the Capitol on Jan. 6, interrupting a joint session of Congress convened to certify the presidential election’s electoral votes. As she attempted to climb through a broken window into the Speaker’s Lobby, adjacent to the House chamber, she was shot by Byrd.

Babbitt, who was unarmed, was soon declared dead.

Judicial Watch obtained the material through a May 2021 Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.

Records include a new cellphone video, which has been edited by the D.C. Police and shows officers reacting to the shooting. The footage, which is 1.27 minutes long, depicts a chaotic scene as dozens of officers walk up a stairwell and approach a group of protesters inside the building before attempting to pull some of them away. The faces of those in the video have been blurred out however their voices can be heard.

The documents also include photos of the area where Babbitt died, which show broken glass and chairs piled up in the speaker’s lobby. There are also D.C. Police photographs of Byrd, his hands, and his gun, as well as pictures of a folding knife, which was allegedly found in Babbitt’s pocket.

There is also a 16 minute 40 second audio recording of police interviewing Byrd on the day of the incident. The voices in that interview and others have been digitally altered to try to hide the identities of those involved.

Byrd had defended shooting Babbitt and claimed that he issued verbal warnings before opening fire but admitted that he did not know Babbitt was unarmed.

“She was posing a threat to the United States House of Representatives,” Byrd said on NBC in August.

“I could not fully see her hands or what was in the backpack or what the intentions are,” Byrd said. “But they had shown violence leading up to that point,” he added.

Terrell Roberts, who is representing the Babbitt family, has told The Epoch Times that the killing was “a pretty clear case of shooting an unarmed person without any legal justification.”

Last month, Judicial Watch released records from the D.C. Police showing that multiple police officers claimed they did not see a weapon in Babbitt’s hand before Byrd shot her. One officer attested that he didn’t hear any verbal commands before Byrd fired at Babbitt.

Byrd was cleared in April this year by both the Department of Justice and the agency he works for following a “thorough investigation.”

“Officials examined video footage posted on social media, statements from the officer involved and other officers and witnesses to the events, physical evidence from the scene of the shooting, and the results of an autopsy,” the DOJ said in a statement.

“Based on that investigation, officials determined that there is insufficient evidence to support a criminal prosecution.”

Two police officers and four protesters died during and following the Jan. 6 Capitol breach.

“These recordings and photos provide dramatic, first-hand evidence that the shooting death of Ashli Babbitt was unjustified,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “It is disturbing that neither the Pelosi Congress nor the Biden/Garland DOJ took no action over this needless death.”

Katabella Roberts is a reporter currently based in Turkey. She covers news and business for The Epoch Times, focusing primarily on the United States.