Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the resurrection of her January 6 witch hunt in the form of a partisan committee, already having failed at the Senate impeachment trial to prove Donald Trump ‘incited’ rioters at the Capitol.
Liz Cheney will be the lone Republican on Nancy Pelosi’s committee. The Wyoming Republican joined the ranks of anti-Trump Democrats by agreeing to be part of Pelosi’s star chamber.
“Former President Donald Trump’s top GOP nemesis Liz Cheney will serve on a committee created by House Democrats to investigate the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol,” the Washington Examiner reported.
“Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, announced the makeup of the panel a day after the House voted mostly along party lines to create the special committee,” the report noted.
Speaker Pelosi’s committee appoints 13 members to report on the “facts, circumstances, and causes relating to the January 6, 2021, domestic terrorist attack upon the United States Capitol Complex.”
That allegedly includes the “facts and causes relating to the preparedness and response of the United States Capitol Police and other Federal, State, and local law enforcement agencies in the National Capital Region and other instrumentalities of government, as well as the influencing factors that fomented such an attack on American representative democracy while engaged in a constitutional process.”
However, there is one place that Speaker Pelosi will assuredly refuse to go. Donald Trump brought that up in one of his shortest press releases to date. It includes just one question.
“Who shot Ashli Babbitt?”
In April, federal prosecutors dropped the Ashli Babbitt case, as well as any potential charges against an unidentifed Capitol Police officer who shot the Trump supporter as she attempted to crawl through a window in the Capitol building on January 6.
“Federal prosecutors will not charge a police officer who shot and killed a woman as she climbed through the broken part of a door during the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6,” the AP reported.
“Authorities had considered for months whether criminal charges were appropriate for the Capitol Police officer who fatally shot Ashli Babbitt, a 35-year-old Air Force veteran from San Diego,” the report continued. “The Justice Department’s decision, though expected, officially closes out the investigation.”
“Prosecutors said they had reviewed video of the shooting, along with statements from the officer involved and other officers and witnesses, examined physical evidence from the scene and reviewed the autopsy results,” the report added.
Ashli Babbitt’s death was determined to be a ‘homicide,’ according to the Chief Medical Examiner in the nation’s capitol. It is a designation for when one person is killed by another person or persons.
“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.”
Ashli Babbitt was captured on video being shot by the unnamed Capitol Police officer on January 6th.
Despite the extraordinary video, conveniently captured by an Antifa-supporting activist named John Sullivan, there have been very few attempts by major media outlets to dissect what really happened with the shooting of the Trump supporter.
The shooting incident is usually described in the most general of terms. An agitator, whom we now know is named Zachary Jordan Alam, smashed a window leading to an unsecured corridor within the Capitol building.
Zachary Alam, noticeably dressed in a furry hat, is handed a helmet by a fellow insurgent, whom we now know is a Texas winery owner named Christopher Ray Grider. Also involved is one Chad Barrett Jones of Kentucky, who is accused of breaking windows with a flagpole.
In the video, Alam backs the crowd up and smashes the window with the black helmet he is given. Babbitt crawls through the window, unarmed, but is shot by an unidentified police officer.
The New York Times reported more information about the unidentified shooter in January, who had not been charged for excessive force or for negligence after shooting the unarmed woman.
The lieutenant, a veteran officer, was regularly assigned to the Speaker’s Lobby, an enclosed hallway and waiting area in the inner sanctum of the Capitol where access is highly restricted. The lobby runs directly behind the House chamber and is lined with portraits of the House’s past leaders. It is bound by two sets of old wooden doors with windows, one on the Democratic side and one on the Republican side.
At about 2:15 p.m., the lieutenant heard on the radio that the Capitol had been breached, according to his account.
The Times continues to describe the video.
At 2:30 p.m., a crowd that included Ms. Babbitt streamed through the Capitol Rotunda and Statuary Hall. At that point, they were calm, even staying within a walkway defined by velvet ropes. But as they surged toward the north doors of the House, they grew aggressive, chanting, “Break it down.”
“Hey guys, I have a knife,” one person in the crowd can be heard saying.
The person who said “I have a knife,” unnamed in the NY Times article, is none other than John Sullivan, according to a federal affidavit submitted with his arrest warrant. The warrant states:
“Less than two minutes later, while officers are still at the doors and as others yell to break the glass windows in them with various objects, SULLIVAN can be heard saying, “Hey guys, I have a knife. I have a knife. Let me up.”
The ideo shows the unnamed capitol officer holding aloft .40-caliber Glock handgun and pointing it at Babbitt, while Sullivan shouts repeatedly that “there is a gun.”
The unidentified police officer is reportedly still in hiding due to alleged threats made against his life.
“More than six weeks after Babbitt succumbed to a single gunshot wound to the upper chest, authorities are keeping secret the identity of the officer who fired the fatal round,” Real Clear Investigations’ Paul Sperry noted. “They won’t release his name, and the major news media aren’t clamoring for it, in stark contrast to other high-profile police shootings of unarmed civilians.”
“The secrecy has fueled Internet reports misidentifying the shooter as a Capitol Police special agent previously commended by President Trump for bravery,” Sperry reported. “The false rumors have triggered threats against the officer.”
Paul Sperry provides further reported details about the officer in question.
“The officer who opened fire on Babbitt holds the rank of lieutenant and is a longtime veteran of the force who worked protective detail in the Speaker’s Lobby, a highly restricted area behind the House chamber, sources say. An African-American, he was put on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal investigation led by the Metropolitan Police of the District of Columbia, which shares jurisdiction with the Capitol Police. The Justice Department is also involved in the inquiry.”
Babbitt family attorney Terry Roberts taked to Newsmax about the controversial elements of the case.
Roberts said the “clearly, the officer a required willfullness … he could clearly see that she was not armed,” and thus the shooting was not justified, contending that the officer did not give Babbitt warning despite ample time to do so.
“This is a situation in which the officer could have easily arrested her if he had grounds to arrest her without using deadly force,” Roberts said. “This was an egregious act of excessive force.”
Furthermore, there were several officers behind Babbitt who merely watched and did not intervene, despite knowing that she was in mortal danger.
“The shooting of Ashli Babbitt on January 6, 2021 by an unidentified U.S. Capitol Police Officer was an unjustified use of deadly force which violated her constitutional rights,” attorney Terrell N. Roberts III said.
“It is clear from video footage that Ashli did not pose a danger to the officer, or any other person, when she was shot. Ashli was unarmed. She did not assault anyone. She did not threaten to harm anyone. There was no excuse for taking her life,” he added.
“It is a universal law enforcement standard that a police officer should use no more force than necessary to accomplish a lawful purpose,” Roberts continued. “At 5′ 2″ tall and 110 pounds, an arrest of Ashli could have been accomplished by a single trained officer with a set of handcuffs. At the time of the shooting, there were over a half-dozen police officers in close proximity to the Speaker’s door where Ashli was standing.”
“Some of those officers had just allowed protesters access to the door by stepping aside,” he added. “Other officers, dressed in full tactical gear, stood among the protesters just a few feet behind the door. Still others stood casually at the opposite end of the Speaker’s Lobby, unconcerned with the activities of Ashli and the protesters around her.”
Babbitt’s lawyer presents an essential question that needs to be answered to fully grasp the circumstances surrounding her death. The officers allowed agitators to orchestrate a breach of the inner chamber, and let Babbitt crawl through a window, without actively intervening. Along with the Capitol Police effectively issuing a “stand down” order, and the National Guard’s unjustifiably low profile, the police’s behavior only adds to the mysterious circumstances of the January 6th event.
“All of these officers were in a position to have aided in the apprehension of Ashli if it was necessary,” Roberts said. “Given her background as a 14-year veteran of the Air Force, it is likely that Ashli would have complied with simple verbal commands, thereby making the use of any force unnecessary.”
“However, the officer who shot Ashli never attempted to arrest her,” the attorney continued. “Nor did he call on his fellow officers to arrest her. Instead, he fired a shot into her chest.”
The decision to shoot Ashli Babbitt has been chalked up as a “split second” decision; but one can see from the video that the woman was warned and the man held aloft his gun for at least fifteen seconds before shooting. This is not second-guessing the officer’s decision, but merely to point out that there is a discrepancy in the characterization of the shooting. It is also undeniable that Babbitt should not have proceeded to go into the area. However, this does not resolve questions about how the incident developed or concluded.
The New York Times and other media outlets have branded Babbitt as a “Q Anon” supporter, as if to dispel any public curiosity or even sympathy about the woman’s death.
“Ashli wasn’t a thug. She wasn’t a rioter. Ashli was a peaceful person,” said her cousin Justine Babbitt. “She did 14 years in the military. She was not there to destroy the Capitol building. She was there to be heard and be part of a movement. Ashli was a die-hard patriot. Not a Democrat, not a Republican. She was for the people. Ashli carried around the Constitution and the Bill of Rights in her pocketbook.”
The circumstances surrounding Babbitt’s death remain mysterious, as does the identity of the officer who shot her. It appears that it will remain that way, at least if Speaker Pelosi’s Jan. 6 committee has anything to say about it.
OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.