The following statement was released by the attorney representing an unnamed Capitol police officer who shot and killed unarmed protester Ashli Babbitt during the January riots at the U.S. Capitol.
The statement was issued after prosecutors announced they will not file charges against the officer. Prosecutors say they could not find evidence that showed the officer did not reasonably think: his life was in danger or that he was protecting members of Congress.
April 14, 2021 Lowenstein Client, Capitol Police Officer Involved in January 6, 2021, Shooting of Rioter, Will Not Face Criminal Charges Department of Justice (DOJ) prosecutors with the Civil Rights Division and the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia (USAO) have declined to charge the United States Capitol Police (USCP) officer with any crimes relating to his appropriate, necessary, and legal use of force when he shot rioter Ashli Babbitt during the January 6, 2021 insurrection. Ms. Babbitt was an active member of the mob that stormed the Capitol and broke in and searched for Members of Congress who were doing their Constitutional duty to certify the Electoral College victory of President Biden. The officer, a lieutenant whose name has been kept confidential because of death threats by those who either do not know the facts or the law or who simply support the mob who stormed the Capitol, shot Ms. Babbitt when she forcibly entered the Speaker’s Lobby directly adjacent to the floor of the House of Representatives. Ms. Babbitt was leading the charge through the barricaded doors, assisting in breaking a window, and climbing into the Speakers Lobby after illegally entering the Capitol Building during the riots. The lieutenant was protecting the Members of Congress who were being evacuated in the face of the violent mob–the same mob that did significant damage to the Capitol building while killing a Capitol Police officer and injuring over 140 other sworn officers who were attempting to hold them back. Ms. Babbitt broke multiple laws in the process of entering the Speaker’s Lobby, and she refused to obey the orders of multiple officers not to come through the window and into the controlled area where Members of Congress were sheltering. Mark E. Schamel and Ana L. Jara of Lowenstein Sandler’s White Collar Criminal Defense group represent the lieutenant; both are based in the firm’s Washington, D.C., office. In response to the DOJ decision, Schamel says: “This is the only correct conclusion following the events of January 6. The lieutenant exercised professionalism and fantastic restraint in defending and protecting members of Congress.” “His bravery on January 6 was nothing short of heroic,” Schamel continues. “He stopped the rioters from gaining entry into the Speaker’s Lobby and saved the lives of countless members of Congress and the rioters. His heroism should be no surprise to those who know him. He is a decorated veteran with a distinguished career with the USCP. The events of January 6 have again proved his valor and his steadfast dedication to the safety and sanctity of Congress, the Capitol, and the United States.” “As unfortunate as it is that the lieutenant had to resort to deadly force,” Schamel says, “he fired only one shot at the only person who breached the locked doors and makeshift barricade that had been erected. He did so after clearly identifying himself and ordering the mob not to come through the barricade. He used tremendous restraint in only firing one shot, and his actions stopped the mob from breaking through and turning a horrific day in American history into something so much worse.” The DOJ investigation sought to determine whether the type of force used was objectively reasonable and if the officer involved used excessive or unjustified force or if he violated the civil rights of an individual. “As shown by the extensive video footage and witness accounts of this violent event,” says Jara, “this was an absolutely justified use of force, and the nation owes the lieutenant a debt of gratitude.”