Judicial Watch Files $30 Million Wrongful Death Suit Over Jan. 6 Protester Ashli Babbitt’s Death

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Written By Maya Cantina

Image courtesy of @JudicialWatch

As the third anniversary of Jan. 6 approaches, Judicial Watch has filed a $30 million wrongful death suit against the federal government for the Capitol Police shooting of Air Force veteran Ashli Babbitt.

The Washington Examiner reports that the suit was filed on behalf of Babbitt’s estate and her husband, Aaron Babbitt, and claims the officer who shot Babbitt was “incompetent” and “dangerous” and should have recognized Babbitt posed no threat to Congress when she entered the House speaker’s lobby.

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton shared on X, “We just filed an important lawsuit.  A $30 million dollar wrongful death action against the United States government on behalf of Ashli Babbitt’s husband and her estate. Ashli Babbit was killed for no good reason that day. Shot and killed by Lt. Michael Byrd.”

“Judicial Watch is seeking accountability from the United States government, that is responsible for that awful and unjustified shooting death.”

“Remember, the only homicide on January 6 was the unlawful shooting death, as our lawsuit alleges, of poor Ashli Babbitt. She deserves justice.  She deserves accountability. And I tell you, Judicial Watch, and I know all of our supporters, are honored to be able to pursue this lawsuit to get justice for Ashli.”

From The Washington Examiner:

The suit claims that Babbitt was not a threat to lawmakers and that Byrd had a soiled record of gunplay.

For example, it claimed that Byrd once left his Glock 22, used to shoot Babbitt, in a public bathroom. It also claimed that Byrd shot into a car allegedly stolen by teenagers.

The suit shared with Secrets also said he had his police powers suspended in the past for “failing to meet or complete semiannual firearms qualification requirements,” adding, “Lt. Byrd had a reputation among peers for not being a good shot.”

A time-stamped video released this week by a group headed by a Jan. 6 suspect showed a new angle of the shooting. In it, an unarmed Babbitt is pushed into the speaker’s lobby as Byrd raises his gun. After he shot, she fell back, bleeding from the shoulder and neck.

According to the suit, “Ashli remained conscious for minutes or longer after being shot by Lt. Byrd. Ashli experienced extreme pain, suffering, mental anguish, and intense fear before slipping into pre-terminal unconsciousness. The autopsy report identified the cause of death as a ‘gunshot wound to left anterior shoulder’ with an onset interval of ‘minutes.’ The fact that Ashli was alive and conscious in extreme pain and suffering is documented in videos of the shooting. Furthermore, nothing about the wound track described in the autopsy report would be expected to result in immediate death or instantaneous loss of consciousness, and Ashli’s lungs contained blood, further confirming that she was alive and breathing after being shot. Ashli was pronounced dead at Washington Hospital Center at 3:15 p.m. The medical examiner determined that the manner of death was homicide.”

The suit further explains:

“Lt. Byrd, who is a USCP commander and was the incident commander for the House on January 6, 2021, shot Ashli as she raised herself up into the opening of the right door sidelight. … Not one member of Congress was in the lobby, which was guarded by multiple armed police officers. Additional armed police officers were in the hallway outside the lobby and/or on the adjoining stairway. Ashli could not have seen Lt. Byrd, who was positioned far to Ashli’s left and on the opposite side of the doors, near an opening to the Retiring Room, a distance of approximately 15 feet and an angle of approximately 160 degrees. Sgt. Timothy Lively, one of the armed officers guarding the lobby doors from the hallway, later told officials investigating the shooting, ‘I saw him … there was no way that woman would’ve seen that.’ Lt. Byrd, who was not in uniform, did not identify himself as a police officer or otherwise make his presence known to Ashli. Lt. Byrd did not give Ashli any warnings or commands before shooting her dead.”

You can read the full lawsuit below:

Complaint Final 240104 10pm by Washington Examiner

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