A California physician who gave medical aid to a dying Ashli Babbitt on Jan. 6, 2021, but was forced away from the scene by police has been sentenced to probation as part of a plea deal for his time at the U.S. Capitol.
Dr. Austin Brendlen Harris, 43, of Granada Hills, California, was sentenced on Feb. 2 by U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton to three years of probation and fined $5,000 for the petty misdemeanor charge of parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a Capitol building.
Federal prosecutors recommended that Judge Walton sentence Dr. Harris to 30 days in jail.
While Dr. Harris acknowledged his presence inside the Capitol broke the law, he said it at least gave him the opportunity to help a mortally wounded Ms. Babbitt, 35, an Air Force veteran from San Diego who was shot outside the Speaker’s Lobby at 2:44 p.m. on Jan. 6.
“He wanted to help to try to save her life,” Mr. Weinberg wrote. “Unfortunately just as her pulse faded and he was about to start CPR, he was prevented from acting further as law enforcement had to control the crowd and move protesters away from the situation, understandably so.”
The sentencing memo understated the role a Capitol Police bicycle officer played in preventing Dr. Harris from giving Ms. Babbitt further medical aid.
The visibly angry officer kept pushing Dr. Harris and the two struggled down the hallway. It’s impossible to hear what was said between the men because the crowd was yelling at the police.
Dr. Harris went back and asked the officer to retrieve his medical bag, which was still sitting next to Ms. Babbitt. The officer handed it back to him.“If Dr. Harris had not been in one specific location within the building, he would not have had the opportunity to render aid to Ms. Ashli Babbitt after she was shot,” Mr. Weinberg wrote.
Tried to Prevent RiotingMs. Babbitt, who owned a pool cleaning business with her husband, traveled alone to Washington on Jan. 5 and attended President Donald J. Trump’s speech at the Ellipse on Jan. 6.
Prosecutors acknowledged that Dr. Harris accepted responsibility for running afoul of the law.
“The government has also considered the fact that Harris made clear his intention to accept responsibility for his actions at the time of his arrest and did so at the earliest opportunity,” prosecutors wrote.
The sentencing of Dr. Harris is the latest development in the death of Ms. Babbitt, who was shot and killed by Capitol Police Lt. Michael L. Byrd.
That federal suit, also filed in San Diego, says the FBI rejected Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and never provided records even after an appeal was filed with the DOJ. The lawsuit asks a judge to compel the FBI to release the records.