February 24, 2021

WHO SHOT ASHLI BABBITT? With Ashli Babbitt Killing Shrouded in Mystery, Capitol Officer Who Shot Her Is in Hiding for His Own Safety.

All told, seven people died in connection with the U.S. Capitol riot on Jan. 6. But only Ashli Babbitt’s death was directly caused by violence that day. She was a rioter killed by a Capitol Police officer, who fired the only shot by any person during the 4½-hour siege. Yet the story of who he is and why he opened fire remains shrouded in mystery.

More than six weeks after Babbitt succumbed to a single gunshot wound to the upper chest, authorities are keeping secret the identity of the officer who fired the fatal round. They won’t release his name, and the major news media aren’t clamoring for it, in stark contrast to other high-profile police shootings of unarmed civilians.

I don’t see why government officials who kill people in the course of their employment should get to stay anonymous. And the lack of transparency on this — the killing of an unarmed protester, which is the sort of thing that usually provokes riots in America — is disgraceful.

And the notion that statements like “Justice for Ashli Babbitt” or “We are Ashli Babbitt” are somehow seditious or threatening, when such statements have been standard fare in dozens of other police shootings of unarmed victims, is dishonest and cruel. Plus:

Most of the circumstances that led to his actions are still unclear. But video footage filmed by rioters shows the lieutenant, after taking up a defensive position in a doorway, carefully aiming and shooting Babbitt as she tries to climb through a smashed window beside a barricaded double door leading to the Speaker’s Lobby, part of a pro-Trump mob of protesters. Babbitt, 35, had no weapon. She died later at a hospital. The decorated Air Force veteran, who had traveled from San Diego, was wearing a Trump flag as a cape when she was shot.

Dressed in a dark suit and white shirt with cufflinks, along with a beaded bracelet on his right shooting hand, the Capitol Police officer fired at her from the side of the barricade, where he had been hidden from view in a doorway. At least from what can be seen and heard from the video, he appears to issue no commands to stop nor any verbal warning that he would shoot.

How would the press be playing it if this had been a Black Lives Matter protest? They certainly wouldn’t be giving the officer the benefit of the doubt. And I suspect his name would have leaked out.

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