Los Angeles Times

No charges against officer who shot woman at Capitol


WASHINGTON — Federal prosecutor­s will not charge the police officer who shot and killed a woman as she climbed through a broken door during the insurrecti­on at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

Authoritie­s considered for months whether criminal charges were appropriat­e for the Capitol Police officer who fatally shot Ashli Babbitt, 35, an Air Force veteran from San Diego.

The Justice Department’s decision, though widely expected, officially closes out the investigat­ion.

Prosecutor­s said they had reviewed video of the shooting and statements from the officer and other officers and witnesses, along with physical evidence from the scene and the results of Babbitt’s autopsy.

“Based on that investigat­ion, officials determined that there is insufficie­nt evidence to support a criminal prosecutio­n,” Justice Department officials said in a statement.

Video clips posted online show Babbitt, wearing a Stars and Stripes backpack, stepping up and beginning to climb through the waisthigh opening the mob had broken through a door in an area of the Capitol known as the Speaker’s Lobby. A gunshot is heard, and she falls backward.

Another video shows unidentifi­ed people attempting to lift Babbitt up. She can be seen slumping back to the ground.

Babbitt was one of five people, including a Capitol Police officer, who died in or outside the Capitol on Jan. 6.

The Justice Department does not bring criminal charges in most police shootings it investigat­es in part because of the high burden for prosecutio­n.

Criminal charges were also not expected in this case because videos of the shooting show Babbitt encroachin­g into a prohibited space, and because basing the prosecutio­n on secondgues­sing the actions of an officer on that violent and chaotic day would have been a challenge.

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