An attorney for the estate of Ashli Babbitt, the woman killed by a US Capitol Police officer during the violent insurrection on January 6, has filed a lawsuit against the District of Columbia.
In the complaint filed last week, Babbitt’s estate seeks to learn the identity of the officer who fired the bullet that killed her. They also ask for 14,000 hours of unseen videotape relating to the events on January 6.
The lawsuit alleges that the DC Metro Police Department has failed to comply with an FOIA request filed by Babbitt’s estate asking for video footage of the shooting, Capitol Police radio traffic, and documents identifying the officer involved. The lawsuit says the department was either required to make the requested records public or inform the estate why they wouldn’t by May 12.
Babbitt’s estate said it was and continues to be “irreparably harmed” by the Metro Police Department’s failure to release information relating to their FOIA request.
Babbitt was killed by an unknown USCP officer as she climbed through a shattered window in a broken-out door leading to the speaker’s lobby. The officer fired one round, striking Babbitt in the shoulder after repeatedly warning her to get away from the doorway.
“A number of police and Secret Service were saying ‘Get back! Get down! Get out of the way!’; she didn’t heed the call…” said Zachary Jodan Alam, who was standing next to Babbitt as she was shot. He now faces 12 federal charges for his role in the attack on the Capitol.
In April, the Justice Department formally closed its investigation into Babbitt’s death, choosing not to bring charges against the officer who shot her.
“Specifically, the investigation revealed no evidence to establish that, at the time the officer fired a single shot at Ms. Babbitt, the officer did not reasonably believe that it was necessary to do so in self-defense or in defense of the Members of Congress and others evacuating the House Chamber,” a DOJ statement said. “Acknowledging the tragic loss of life and offering condolences to Ms. Babbitt’s family, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and U.S. Department of Justice have therefore closed the investigation into this matter.”
Babbitt, like many at the Capitol on January 6, was an avid follower of QAnon. QAnon is a baseless, far-right conspiracy theory that detailed a Trump-planned day of reckoning known as “The Storm”. Theorists said Trump would order the arrests and execution of numerous members of the “deep state”, including figures such as liberal celebrities, democrat politicians, and high-ranking government officials.
As the Trump presidency ended with no QAnon-related prophecies coming true, some of the fringe group’s followers began to grapple with reality in search of answers.
“It’s over and nothing makes sense . . . absolutely nothing,” one user on a pro-QAnon message board wrote. Others, while shocked, stood by the conspiracy theory at all costs. “We have just witness[ed] the biggest crime ever committed in the history of the United States all on live television,” @MajorPatriot, a prominent QAnon figure retweeted numerous times by Trump said on Gab.
Following the Jan. 6 insurrection, federal investigators quickly mobilized to bring charges against those involved. According to an analysis by NBC, over 490 individuals have been charged for their roles in the deadly riot. Out of those 490, 130 are accused of assaulting police officers — 40 with dangerous weapons.