The Capitol Police on Monday announced that the officer who shot and killed Capitol rioter Ashli Babbitt during the Jan. 6 attack will not face internal punishment after a probe found the action was taken in defense of members of Congress, a blow to Republican lawmakers who have held up Babbitt’s killing as unjust.
The Capitol Police interviewed multiple witnesses and reviewed “all available evidence” as part of an internal investigation into the shooting, and determined the officer “will not be facing internal discipline,” according to a statement.
The probe found that the officer’s actions were “lawful and within Department policy,” which allow the use of force in defense of human life or “any person in immediate danger of physical injury.”
Babbitt, who was seen on video attempting to climb through a broken window to the speaker lobby, would have had “immediate access” to the chamber where lawmakers were sheltering had she been allowed to breach the window, the probe found.
But the Capitol Police lauded the officer’s actions in their statement, arguing he “potentially saved Members and staff from serious injury.”
The officer was previously cleared in April by a Department of Justice probe in April, which determined the officer believed the shooting was “necessary… in self-defense or in defense of the Members of Congress and others evacuating the House Chamber.” That has not stopped Republicans from painting Babbitt as something of a freedom fighter, with Trump claiming earlier this month she “truly loved America,” and Greene saying in July she would have been friends with Babbitt.
The officer was left unidentified in the Capitol Police statement over safety concerns, according to the statement, which said “credible and specific threats” have been made against the officer. Republicans have demanded the officer’s unmasking, with Trump even claiming in July the officer is on top Democratic lawmaker’s security detail, which the Capitol Police have denied.
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The officer still faces legal hurdles, with Babbitt’s family filing a civil suit to reveal the officer’s identity. The family also reportedly plans to seek $10 million in damages in a separate wrongful death lawsuit against the officer.