Law enforcement officers inside the U.S. Capitol had no reason to believe Ashli Babbitt, the woman one of them shot dead, was armed, according to her family’s lawyer.
Babbitt was fatally shot inside the Capitol on Jan. 6 after breaching the building with hundreds of others, interrupting a joint session of Congress. She was struck by a bullet fired by a Capitol Police officer while climbing through a broken window to enter the Speaker’s Lobby, which is next to the House chamber.
Babbitt was carrying a backpack that contained a scarf and a sweater, her family’s lawyer Terrell Roberts said.
“We’ve heard nothing from any of the leaked information that’s gone out there that she was armed at all. No bomb, no weapon,” Roberts said during an appearance this week on One America News.
“So the officer was not free to infer that she was armed, unless he sees some indication of her brandishing a weapon, going to her hip, doing something like that, carrying a weapon. There’s no indication that she’s armed at all.”
The Metropolitan Police Department, which is leading the shooting probe, and the Capitol Police did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The officer who shot Babbitt has not been publicly identified. He is on administrative leave, with his police powers suspended, pending the outcome of the probe.
Roberts and his investigative team have pored over video footage and photographs recorded in the moments leading up to the shooting by bystanders and others to try to figure out what happened.
Based on the footage and photos, officers in the vicinity appeared to abandon the doorway that Babbitt attempted to enter. Just 18 seconds before the shooting, a still frame from a video shows six officers, several heavily armed, standing next to Babbitt.
She was shot by an officer on the other side of the doorway. There were five other officers on that side of the doorway, one still frame appeared to show.
Roberts told The Epoch Times in a recent interview that the shooting was not justified and that Babbitt’s family is considering filing a lawsuit alleging excessive use of force.
The footage “demonstrates I think very clearly that in this particular case, the officer’s use of deadly force was not justified,” the attorney said on One America News.
“He was not confronted with an immediate threat on his life, nor was anyone else in proximity to this area.”
Officers usually start with the least amount of force and work their way to deadly force, he added.
Mark Schamel, an attorney for the officer, recently told RealClearInvestigations that the officer issued several warnings and “was acting within his training,” adding, “Lethal force is appropriate if the situation puts you or others in fear of imminent bodily harm.”
The officer may have issued warnings, Roberts told NTD, but from Babbitt’s vantage point, “There’s no way she could have heard such a warning.”