Among the five people killed during the 6 January storming of the US Capitol was Ashli Babbitt, an Air Force veteran and Qanon follower who was fatally shot by a US Capitol officer as she tried to climb through a shattered door deep within the building. Now, her husband is suing police in Washington to reveal the identity of the officer who pulled the trigger.
The suit, filed in a Washington DC court in early June, seeks an order from a judge for DC police to turn over the records related to its use-of-force investigation into Ms Babbitt’s death. In April, following a joint investigation between federal officials and DC police, authorities concluded that the unnamed officer had acted reasonably when shooting Ms Babbitt as a means of defending themself and members of Congress.
“The actual evidence is this: the officer shot an unarmed woman who was not an immediate threat to him or any member of Congress,’ an attorney for family, Terrell Roberts previously told CNBC. “That is inconsistent with any claim of self-defense or the defense of others, period.”
The Independent has reached out to the Washington DC police for comment.
Separately, the family is preparing a multi-million dollar wrongful death suit against Capitol police.
Ms Babbitt, 35, was an Air Force veteran from the San Diego, California, area who became enamoured with the extremist movement Qanon and Donald Trump before storming the Capitol. The day before she arriving in the Capitol, she tweeted, “Nothing will stop us . . . they can try and try and try but the storm is here and it is descending upon DC in less than 24 hours . . . dark to light!”
Videos posted on social media of the riots show Ms Babbitt and others rampaging through the Capitol, and banding on wood and glass doors with helmets, feet, and flagpoles, near to a location where members of Congress were sheltering.
Since her death, she has become a martyr for some on the right.
Though authorities concluded the shooting was legal, the US attorney’s office in Washington and the Justice Department said they were still “acknowledging the tragic loss of life and offering condolences” at the time.
“In my eyes, everyone should stand before a jury to face justice. That decision shouldn’t be made behind the scenes. I think he should at least stand trial,” her brother, Roger Witthoeft told The Washington Post at the time. “I love my sister and I’ll always remember her as a decent woman and patriot,” he said.
At least eight people in the crowd of rioters with her have since been charged with crimes.
A hearing in the records lawsuit is expected for 3 September.