The death of Ashli Babbitt, a 35-year-old veteran fatally shot by a law enforcement officer while she attempted to gain access to the House chamber during the Capitol Hill riot on Jan. 6, has sparked widespread political debate in recent months.
While her family is suing to learn who fired the bullet that killed her, Babbitt’s mother is pointing an accusatory finger at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).
“Too busy playing in her clubhouse”
In recent remarks on the matter, Michelle Witthoef said that her daughter “was a California constituent” and Pelosi “orchestrated” her death.
“I’ve reached out to Nancy Pelosi’s office several times, and she has yet to call me back because she’s too busy playing in her clubhouse with all of her elite people,” she said.
Witthoef went on to tell Pelosi that “it’s the people’s house” and that “Capitol Police should be held accountable like every other police department in the country.”
Unfortunately for those seeking a quick resolution, such accountability is unlikely to come from the Justice Department under President Joe Biden’s administration.
In a statement on April 14, the agency announced that it had concluded a probe into Babbitt’s death and would not be pursuing any sort of disciplinary measures or criminal charges against the officer who fired the shot.
“Insufficient evidence to support a criminal prosecution”
That statement noted that the investigation included a review of available footage and interviews with the officer and other individuals present at the time of the shooting after which “officials determined that there is insufficient evidence to support a criminal prosecution.”
At the heart of the probe was a debate over whether Babbit’s civil rights were unconstitutionally violated.
For its part, the Justice Department uncovered “no evidence to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that the officer willfully committed a violation” of her rights and “no evidence to establish that, at the time the officer fired a single shot at Ms. Babbit, 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.”
Babbitt’s family has gone to court in pursuit of accountability, at first through a Freedom of Information Act request filed by her husband, Aaron Babbit, that sought all relevant records from the D.C. Metro Police Department.
The family has separately announced its intention to file a lawsuit against the Capitol Police for an amount “well above $10 million” over the alleged use of excessive force.