Lt. Michael Byrd, the Capitol Police Officer and the House Chamber Commander on the day of the January 6 riots, admitted that he did not know how much of a threat unarmed rioter Ashli Babbitt posed when he shot and killed her.
During his interview with NBC, Byrd had disclosed how much he didn’t know about the potential threat, despite a number of officers observing the developments in the corridor.
“I didn’t even know it was a female,” he said. “Until hours, way later. Sometime later on that night, before I even found out that it was a female.”
“And because the call of ‘shots fired’ had went out, you know, it was later I found out that the subject did not have a weapon. But there was no way to know that at that time.”
Judicial Watch discovered through a Freedom of Information lawsuit that the Capitol Police Sergeant positioned behind Byrd did not see any weapons in the hands of Ashli Babbit when she climbed through the broken glass.
“I didn’t see anything in her hands,” the sergeant said. A witness also said that he did not hear Byrd issue her any warnings.
“Docs uncovered by Judicial Watch reveal that eyewitnesses told investigators they did not hear Byrd give Babbitt any verbal warnings prior to firing, contradicting what Byrd told NBC,” Judicial Watch said in Real Clear Investigations.
A witness also disclosed Lt. Byrd’s reaction in the aftermath of the shooting.
“No, his eyes were red,” said the witness. “He was, you could see he was visibly upset and he just, you know, kind of comfort him [sic] and told him, you know, we gotta get outta here.”
Another officer who “was immediately behind Byrd in the Speaker’s Lobby” also said that he “did not see [the victim] in possession of any potential weapons.”
With respect to Byrd’s condition, he said that “Lieutenant Byrd was shaking, he did not say anything . . . Byrd was nervous, teary-eyed, and appeared very upset.”
Another officer present at the scene said that “he did not hear any verbal commands” prior to the shot.
Byrd publicly revealed himself to be Ashli Babbitt’s shooter in late August. In a NBC Nightly News interview he claimed: “I tried to wait as long as I could . . . I hoped and prayed no one tried to enter through those doors. But their failure to comply required me to take the appropriate action to save the lives of members of Congress and myself and my fellow officers . . . I know that day I saved countless lives.”
In November, Judicial Watch obtained footage of Capitol Police Officers watching Ashli Babbitt attempt to crawl through a broken window in a Capitol building corridor and did nothing to stop it. It was part of the 14,000 hours of Capitol riot footage that the Department of Justice has not disclosed to the American people.
Paul Sperry, writing in Real Clear Investigations, reports that Lt. Michael Byrd was cleared of all wrongdoing without a formal investigation.
“In fact, investigators cleared Byrd of wrongdoing in the shooting without actually interviewing him about the shooting or threatening him with punishment if he did not cooperate with their criminal investigation,” Sperry writes.
“He didn’t provide any statement to [criminal] investigators and they didn’t push him to make a statement,” Babbitt family attorney Terry Roberts told RCI. “It’s astonishing how skimpy his investigative file is.”
“MPD did not formally interview Lt. Byrd,” deputy D.C. MPD communications director Kristen Metzger also said. And, “He didn’t give a statement while under the U.S. Attorney’s Office investigation.”
Byrd declined to cooperate with D.C MPD Internal Affairs Division’s investigation, RCI reports. The U.S. Capitol Police, which reports directly to the Congress, determined that “the officer’s conduct was lawful and within department policy.”
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