Ashli Babbitt, a California woman who participated in the U.S. Capitol riot on Jan.6, was “ambushed” by the Capitol Police officer who fatally shot her as she tried to enter the Speaker’s Lobby outside the House Chamber, a lawyer for the family said this week, according to reports.
The family plans to file a $10 million wrongful death lawsuit against the Capitol Police and the officer, the Washington Examiner reported.
Terry Roberts, a lawyer hired by Babbitt’s family who specializes in police misconduct cases, told Real Clear Investigations this week that he believes the officer didn’t give Babbitt verbal warnings before he fired.
“It’s not debatable. There was no warning,” Roberts alleged. “I would call what he did an ambush. I don’t think he’s a good officer. I think he’s reckless.”
“It’s not debatable. There was no warning. I would call what he did an ambush. I don’t think he’s a good officer. I think he’s reckless.”
— Terry Roberts, lawyer for Ashli Babbitt’s family
The unidentified officer’s lawyer, Mark Schamel, has denied Roberts’ version of events.
“It’s a false narrative that he issued no verbal commands or warnings. He was screaming, ‘Stay back! Stay back! Don’t come in here!'” he told Real Clear Investigations.
He said the officer’s warnings couldn’t be heard on cell phone video of the shooting because he was wearing a mask and the video was from the other side of the doors in a loud room.
“It’s a false narrative that he issued no verbal commands or warnings. He was screaming, ‘Stay back! Stay back! Don’t come in here!'”
— Mark Schamel, lawyer for Capitol Police officer
“Lethal force is appropriate if the situation puts you or others in fear of imminent bodily harm,” he continued. “There should be a training video on how he handled that situation. What he did was unbelievable heroism,” according to the Examiner.
Ashli Babbitt, who participated in the U.S. Capitol riot on Jan. 6, was “ambushed” by the Capitol Police officer who fatally shot her as she tried to climb through a window into the Speaker’s Lobby outside the House Chamber, a lawyer for the family said this week, according to reports.
The officer was cleared of wrongdoing by the U.S. Justice Department, which said in April “there is insufficient evidence to support a criminal prosecution.”
“In order to establish a violation of this statute, prosecutors must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the officer acted willfully to deprive Ms. Babbitt of a right protected by the Constitution or other law,” the DOJ said. “Prosecutors would have to prove not only that the officer used force that was constitutionally unreasonable, but that the officer did so ‘willfully,’ which the Supreme Court has interpreted to mean that the officer acted with a bad purpose to disregard the law.”
The family also sued in June for access to video footage and other documentation related to the shooting and the identity of the officer.
Video of the incident shows the officer (whose face can’t be seen) pointing his weapon at the rioters who are smashing the glass in the door. “There’s a gun! He’s got a gun!” rioters can be heard saying before Babbitt is shot in the left shoulder while trying to climb through the broken window. Babbitt can be seen falling to the floor. She later died at a hospital.
Hundreds of people have been arrested for their alleged involvement in the riot, which left five people dead, including Babbitt and Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick. Four police officers who responded to the riot have also died by suicide, according to authorities. Thirty people have pleaded guilty so far, according to CBS News.
The U.S. Capitol Police didn’t immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.