Judicial Watch has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the federal government for the murder of Ashli Babbitt, the Air Force veteran fatally shot inside the Capitol building by (then-former) Lt. Michael Byrd.
The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court Southern District of California on behalf of Babbitt’s family, seeks $30 million in damages.
The lawsuit accuses the federal government of wrongful death, assault and battery, and details Officer Michael Byrd’s incompetence and multiple revocations of his firearm privileges for previous dangerous incidents.
From The Washington Examiner:
On the eve of the third anniversary of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, a $30 million wrongful death suit has been filed against the federal government for the Capitol Police shooting of Air Force veteran Ashli Babbitt.
Washington-based Judicial Watch filed the suit on behalf of Babbitt’s estate and her husband, Aaron Babbitt, claiming the officer who shot Babbitt was “incompetent” and “dangerous” and should have seen that the 35-year-old posed no threat to Congress when she entered the House speaker’s lobby.
The negligence lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court Southern District of California.
“The only homicide on January 6 was the unlawful shooting death of Ashli Babbitt. Her homicide by Lt. [Michael] Byrd is a scandal beyond belief. This historic lawsuit seeks a measure of justice and government accountability for Ashli’s wrongful death,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said.
“Judicial Watch and our supporters are honored to represent Ashli’s steadfast widower Aaron Babbitt and her estate in this legal action. Ashli was shot in cold blood, and the rule of law requires justice for her,” Fitton added.
The Justice Department probed the shooting and decided against charging Byrd.
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.”
J6ers in the Capitol stairwell. Down the hall a man casually walking. Ashli Babbitt with no weapon stands on the door with three SWAT officers right behind her and Lt. Michael Byrd shoots and kills her. Byrd was promoted to captain. Ashli Babbitt is dead. pic.twitter.com/10TrBZLwWX— Ken Miles (@kenmilesamerica) December 30, 2023
This is the last video recorded by Airman Ashli Babbitt.— I Meme Therefore I Am 🇺🇸 (@ImMeme0) January 6, 2024
January 6th, 2021, Ashli was needlessly murdered at the U.S. capitol by Lt. Michael Byrd.
She was a veteran and a peaceful protester, posed zero threat as she had a few police officers within arms length of her when Byrd… pic.twitter.com/o35ZmFt8Z1
Below is an excerpt from the lawsuit, via Judicial Watch:
Air Force veteran Ashli Babbitt was a 35-year-old resident of San Diego, California, where she owned and operated a successful pool business with her husband Aaron. Ashli traveled alone from San Diego to Washington, DC, to attend the Women for America First (aka Save America) rally on January 6, 2021, at the Ellipse.
As the lawsuit details:
Ashli loved her country and wanted to show her support for President Trump’s America First policies and to see and hear the president speak live while he remained in office. Ashli did not go to Washington as part of a group or for any unlawful or nefarious purpose. She was there to exercise what she believed were her God-given, American liberties and freedoms.
After the rally, Ashli, like a great many other patriotic Americans attending the rally, walked to the Capitol peacefully, a distance of approximately 1.5 miles. Two undercover Metropolitan Police Department officers followed close behind Ashli as she climbed the stairs to the West Terrace. Ashli entered the Capitol on the Senate side long after others had done so. Once inside, Ashli encountered a female Capitol Police officer, who directed her to walk south toward the House side. Ashli complied, walking alone through the Capitol and ultimately arriving at the hallway outside the main door to the House chamber, where demonstrators had gathered. From there, Ashli walked by herself east, along the hallway outside the House chamber, then turned south, reaching the hallway outside the Speaker’s Lobby at the southeast corner of the Capitol.
The shooting occurred at the east entrance to the Speaker’s Lobby. After demonstrators filled the hallway outside the lobby, two individuals in the crowded, tightly packed hallway struck and dislodged the glass panels in the lobby doors and the right door sidelight. Lt. Byrd, who is a USCP commander and was the incident commander for the House on January 6, 2021, shot Ashli on sight as she raised herself up into the opening of the right door sidelight. Lt. Byrd later confessed that he shot Ashli before seeing her hands or assessing her intentions or even identifying her as female. Ashli was unarmed. Her hands were up in the air, empty, and in plain view of Lt. Byrd and other officers in the lobby.
The facts speak truth. Ashli was ambushed when she was shot by Lt. Byrd. Multiple witnesses at the scene yelled, “you just murdered her.”
Lt. Byrd was never charged or otherwise punished or disciplined for Ashli’s homicide.
You can read the full lawsuit here.