I don’t know about you, but I happened to notice a whole lot of outrage over police shootings all summer long.
Now please tell me why, when an armed or unarmed protester is shot and killed by a member of law enforcement do we still, months later, still not know the identity of the officer?
The officer who killed George Floyd was immediately fired, arrested, and charged, yet whoever fired the shot that killed Ashli Babbit at the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6th has been quietly relieved of any responsibility and left unidentified.
Paul Sperry of RealClearInvestigations recently explained what they have managed to find about the officer involved in Babbit’s death.
“More than six weeks after Babbitt succumbed to a single gunshot wound to the upper chest, authorities are keeping secret the identity of the officer who fired the fatal round. They won’t release his name, and the major news media ad[nd other cop hating groups aren’t clamoring for it, in stark contrast to other high-profile police shootings of unarmed civilians,” he writes.
Based on interviews and all available documents on the case, this is what they’ve been able to piece together:
The officer who opened fire on Babbitt holds the rank of lieutenant and is a longtime veteran of the force who worked protective detail in the Speaker’s Lobby, a highly restricted area behind the House chamber, sources say. An African-American, he was put on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal investigation led by the Metropolitan Police of the District of Columbia, which shares jurisdiction with the Capitol Police. The Justice Department is also involved in the inquiry.
The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month that the officer has been interviewed and cleared of criminal wrongdoing by a preliminary investigation, suggesting that the police killing may soon be ruled justifiable homicide. But D.C. Police spokeswoman Alaina Gertz told RCI, “This case remains under active investigation.”
The well-placed sources told RCI the plainclothes officer has gone into hiding out of fear for his safety.
That is as quick a determination on a police shooting that we have seen in a very long time. If he has been cleared then why not the release of the information? FBI Director Christopher Wray recently testified before Congress that he could not speak to the investigation or release the medical examiner’s autopsy report because it is ongoing. If it is ongoing then how could a determination have been already made that clears the officer?
Sperry explains that when the protesters were coming towards the door the unidentified officer was hiding behind, he was unaware that there were three plainclothes officers on the other side between himself and the crowd.
Critics say that based on video footage, there is no indication that he issued any verbal commands or warnings to Babbit and that he appeared to simply draw, aim, and shoot.
Meanwhile, the officer’s legal defense (who just so happens to also represent the primary source for the Steele dossier, by the way) claims that his client was entirely justified and did issue verbal commands that were not heard in the video due to the noise of the crowd, nor seen, due to his face mask.
Sperry explains further:
Some critics argue the lieutenant panicked and should have waited for backup before firing. But those briefed on his account said he believed he was alone with no chance of assistance. He maintained he was not aware that three uniformed officers were posted on the other side of the doors, and did not know that a SWAT team armed with assault weapons and tactical gear was moving in to replace them.
Also, the officer said he heard reports of shots fired in the building earlier during the upheaval, and feared that the rioters on the other side of the doors had guns. But it turns out the reports were in error — the sound of glass being broken had been mistaken for gunfire. No other shots were fired that day.
He also told investigators he heard reports that pipe bombs had been found elsewhere in the area and worried that the rioters might be carrying explosives. Babbitt was wearing a backpack, which allegedly compounded his fears.
The lieutenant also said he believed his own life was in danger. It’s not clear why he decided to stand his ground rather than retreat and seek out reinforcements. Well-armed Secret Service agents were standing guard nearby in the House chamber.
Whatever the details in this case, there is nothing that distinguishes Babbit from George Floyd—the people deserve to know who this man is and why he is not being charged.
There are way too many questions and not enough answers about what happened on January 6th.
Why does the FBI get away with the lack of transparency? It wreaks of a cover-up.
The American people have a right to a full accounting of this police use of force.
Ashli Babbit and her survivors deserve the same.
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