Terry Roberts, the attorney for Ashli Babbitt’s family, has announced their plan to file civil charges in her death.
He revealed this Monday on NEWSMAX; you can watch his interview on the new, uncensored platform RUMBLE.
Since Babbitt’s death during the January 6 breach of the Capitol Building, her family has wanted transparency about the circumstances, but it seems they’ve determined that a lawsuit is the only way to get that. “The family and I were disappointed in the Department of Justice’s decision on this," Roberts said, "but my role is really to bring a civil action and in that way vindicate her rights."
Family members “strongly disagree” with the DOJ’s decision not to release the identity of the Capitol Hill police officer who wielded the gun. “We think the evidence is ample and would support criminal charges against the officer,” he said. There was the “required willfulness” on the officer’s part, he said, and the officer could see that Ashli was not armed and presented “no immediate threat to him.”
“There was no legal justification for shooting her.”
According to Roberts, there is “ample evidence” that the officer gave no verbal warning before shooting. His team has talked to “many of the people on Ashli’s side of the door,” and, apparently, no one they talked to had heard a warning.
“I don’t believe she even knew the officer was on the other side of the room,” he said.
The officer was “kind of concealing himself in a room,” according to Roberts, “off to the side of her field of vision.” He easily could have just arrested her; there was no need to use deadly force. It was “an egregious act of excessive force,” the attorney said. “He should have been charged.”
Regarding the relatively quiet aftermath of this shooting, the lack of public outcry, Roberts lamented “the double standard at work here.” With different circumstances, a different location, a different political climate, “it’s a certainty that there would be charges.”
When asked if the family believes this is because Ashli was a Trump supporter, Roberts said, “Clearly, that has everything to do with it. Unfortunately, it shouldn’t.”
As reported in THE EPOCH TIMES, Babbitt, a U.S. Air Force veteran, was trying to climb through a broken-out window in one of the inside doors in the Capitol Building when she was shot. As her family’s attorney said, she was clearly unarmed.
In addition to identifying and speaking to multiple witnesses, the family's legal team has been working for weeks to collect open-source photographs and videos in an effort to reconstruct what happened before Ashli was hit.
Mark Schamel, an attorney for the officer --- who remains unidentified --- told RealClear Investigations that the officer did issue warnings, several of them. “He was acting within his training,” Schamel said. “Lethal force is appropriate if the situation puts you or others in fear of imminent bodily harm.”
RealClear Investigations linked to this article from April 14, the day the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia announced their decision not to prosecute the officer who shot and killed Ashli Babbitt.
Their press release stated that DOJ officials, along with the Metropolitan Police Department’s Internal Affairs Division, “conducted a thorough investigation of Ms. Babbitt’s shooting.” This, they said, included reviewing video, taking statements from officers and other witnesses, gathering physical evidence, and viewing the results of Ashli’s autopsy.
Note that in its description of what happened, the DOJ press release says nothing about any verbal warning given to Ashli or any other effort made to subdue her before the use of deadly force. But it does say that “the investigation revealed no evidence that, at the time the officer fired a single shot at Ms. Babbitt, the officer did not reasonably believe that it was necessary to do so in self-defense or in defense of the members of Congress and others evacuating the House Chamber.”
The three basic elements for a criminal prosecution are that the defendant was 1) acting under color of law and 2) acting WILLFULLY to 3) deprive the victim of a federally protected right. I emphasize the term “willfully” because this appears to be the point on which the case would turn.
That’s because the rest of the case seems easy to make. The officer was certainly acting under color of law, and he did deprive the victim of her federally protected rights –- the right to LIFE, among others. And clearly, this was excessive force. An unarmed woman trying to climb through a window could be subdued quickly without the use of a gun. She wasn’t using a bat, breaking windows, etc., as others were. It makes little sense, at least given what we know, that she was targeted.
Notice that the Babbitt attorney used “willfully” to describe the officer’s excessive force; his use of that word was no accident.
In their press release, the DOJ said, “Prosecutors would have to prove not only that the officer used force that was constitutionally unreasonable, but that the officer did so ‘willfully,’ which the Supreme Court has interpreted to mean that the officer acted with a bad purpose to disregard the law. As this requirement has been interpreted by the courts, evidence that an officer acted out of fear, mistake, panic, misperception, negligence, or even poor judgment cannot establish the high level of intent required...”
Tell that to the other cops who HAVE been identified and prosecuted for behavior that might be considered mistake, negligence or poor judgment but still criminal. Derek Chauvin was convicted on three counts of murder and manslaughter; do we have proof he was intentionally disregarding the law? Or did he think he was acting as he had been trained? I’m not defending Chauvin, just pointing out the double standard.
The DOJ has previously argued, before the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, that to establish “willfulness,” the jury was required to find that the defendant “intended to use more force than was reasonable under the circumstances –- i.e., force that violated [the victim’s] well established due rights...” So, what’s the different between that case and this one?
Again, unless there’s something we don’t know, the officer almost certainly could have subdued Ms. Babbitt without shooting her. He clearly intended to shoot her; we’ve seen the video of him aiming directly at her and pulling the trigger.
But the DOJ holds that there is no evidence that the officer didn’t “reasonably believe” that it was necessary to shoot this woman in defense of himself and/or others. “Acknowledging the tragic loss of life and offering condolences to Ms. Babbitt’s family,” their press release concludes, “the U.S. Attorney’s Office and U.S. Department of Justice have therefore closed the investigation into this matter.”
Well, it’s not over.