The Register Citizen (Torrington, CT)

McCarthy rejects Jan. 6 rioter murder claim


House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on Thursday rejected a claim by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) that Ashli Babbitt was “murdered” by a Capitol Police officer while trying to breach the doors near the House chamber during the storming of the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

“I think the police officer did his job,” McCarthy said during a news conference when asked if he agrees with Greene’s characteri­zation or if he thinks that the officer did his job when he shot Babbitt as she tried to enter the Speaker’s Lobby through a broken window on that day.

Greene’s comments came earlier in the week during a House Oversight Committee meeting after a Democratic member referenced the death of 29-year-old Tyre Nichols after a beating by police in Memphis.

TexasRep. Jasmine Crockett (D-Texas) had voiced opposition to a Republican decision to disband a subcommitt­ee focused on civil rights, arguing Nichols’s death was an example of what such a panel should be investigat­ing.

“I watched the video, and it was tragic and extremely difficult to watch,” Greene said. “But I’d like to also point something that I’d hope you share with me: There’s a woman in this room whose daughter was murdered on January 6th, Ashli Babbitt.” (Greene had apparently invited Babbitt’s mother to attend the committee meeting.)

“As a matter of fact, no one has cared about the person that shot and killed her,” Greene continued. “And no one in this Congress has really addressed that issue. And I believe that there are many people that came into the Capitol on Jan. 6, whose civil rights and liberties are being violated heavily.”

An internal investigat­ion cleared the Capitol Police officer of any wrongdoing in the fatal shooting of Babbitt. The Justice

Department also determined that the officer would not face criminal charges in the killing of the 35-year-old California woman.

Babbitt was among a group of supporters of President Donald Trump who made their way into the Capitol on Jan. 6 to try to stop the certificat­ion of Joe Biden’s election victory. The proTrump mob overran the Capitol complex in a violent siege that ultimately resulted in five deaths.

The group Babbitt was with was battering the doors to the Speaker’s Lobby, the hallway outside the House chamber where some lawmakers and

House staff members were sheltering, when Babbitt attempted to crawl through a shattered window pane in the doors.

Lt. Michael Byrd, a 28-year veteran with the Capitol Police, said he fired his gun that day only as a “last resort,” and that he was trying to protect about 60 to 80 House members and staff who were sheltering beyond the glass doors of the Speaker’s Lobby.

Byrd, who was standing on the far side of the doors, fired a single shot at Babbitt, sending her tumbling backward onto the floor. Babbitt was hit in the shoulder and later died.

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