The case of Ashli Babbitt’s death has added another layer of mystery. There was a cremation order filed by the Medical Examiner presiding in her case only two days after Babbitt was shot and killed by an officially unidentified Capitol Police officer.
The discovery was made by Judicial Watch by FOIA request. Much of the information pertaining to Babbitt’s case that involves the Capitol Police is redacted, because it is legally an unaccountable body that reports directly to the Congress.
The Medical Examiner’s office cremation request was filed “successfully” on January 8, 2021, only two days after Babbitt was shot and killed.
The bizarre twist was among the 1140 pages of documents related to the Babbitt case recently obtained by Judicial Watch. Many of the pages are withheld because FOIA purportedly does not apply.
“The records were obtained in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit concerning two FOIA requests submitted by Judicial Watch on April 8, 2021 to the Metropolitan Police Department and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for records related to Babbitt’s death,” the legal watchdog group reported in its release.
According to Judicial Watch findings, Grant Greenwalt, Manager of the Crime Scenes Sciences unit of the DC Department of Forensic Sciences, forwards Ashli Babbitt’s fingerprints and related documents to David Chumbley, an officer in the DC Police Department. Chumbley “forwards the prints on from his iPhone at 8:06 p.m. on January 6 to someone identified as Jamese Kororma in the DC government,” Judicial Watch found. The email sent to “Jamese Kororma” resulted in multiple Microsoft “undeliverable” messages being returned, “written in what appear to be Chinese characters.”
The “undeliverable” email copy is provided below. At the very least, it suggests problems with the IT security in the Babbitt case.
The email compounds suspicions about the handling of the Babbitt case, due to the secretive nature and extreme lack of transparency investigators have shown the public in the high-profile case.
“There is intense public interest in the shooting of Ashli Babbitt at the Capitol on January 6,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said. “The continued secrecy and delayed release of information about the shooting death of Ashli Babbitt are suspicious and smacks of politics. That Americans still have no information about who killed her or any police report about her death is a scandal of epic proportions.”
The OCME did not release cause and manner of Babbitt’s death until April 7, 2021, as Judicial Watch notes. The Cause of Death was a “gunshot wound to the left anterior shoulder.” The “Manner of Death was listed as “Homicide.”
“Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Francisco J. Diaz said the cause of death for Babbitt, 35, was a gunshot wound to the left anterior shoulder,” the Epoch Times earlier reported. “Her manner of death was ruled homicide, his office said.”
“Authorities previously said Babbitt was shot by a police officer as she allegedly attempted to climb through a door window inside the Capitol building,” the report went on. “The name of the officer has not been disclosed by local or federal authorities.”
Timothy Blodgett, in an exchange with Rep. Herrera-Buetler during a hearing on Jan. 6 that appeared on C-SPAN, seems to have casually dropped the name.
“The situation where you discussed, where Officer [Byrd] was at the door when Ms. Babbitt was shot, it was our Sergeant at Arms employee who rendered the aid.”
It is interesting that Blodgett names an “Officer Byrd” in the context of Ashli Babbitt’s shooting. An African-American Lieutenant Mike Byrd was reported by Roll Call as having once left his service weapon in a bathroom in 2019.
“A U.S. Capitol Police lieutenant left his service weapon in a bathroom Monday night and the unattended gun was discovered later by another Capitol Police officer,” Roll Call reported.
“After the House adjourned on Monday, Lt. Mike Byrd left his Glock 22 in a bathroom in the Capitol Visitor Center complex, according to sources familiar with the incident,” the report said. “Byrd is the commander of the House Chambers section of the Capitol Police and was on the job Tuesday and Wednesday.”
“Byrd addressed the incident at Tuesday morning’s officer roll call and, according to sources, told fellow officers that he ‘will be treated differently’ because of his rank as a lieutenant,” the report added. “It was not clear what exactly the lieutenant meant by the comment.”
The New York Times reported more information about the unidentified shooter in January, who called him a “lieutenant” and a “veteran officer.” He was not charged for excessive force or for negligence after shooting the unarmed woman. As far as the unidentified police officer is concerned, he is reportedly in hiding. The Capitol Police is directly supervised by the U.S. Congress, and is thus immune from subpoena.
In April, the Biden Department of Justice dropped all charges related to an unidentified Capitol police officer’s shooting of Ashli Babbitt.
OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.