Police are important. Good policing is critically important. Bad policing should be dealt with by training and oversight, negligent policing that leads to permanent harm should be punished. By and large the police response that day while in some ways inadequate, was a model of restraint and wisdom as to when to use force and when not to….with one exception.
Ashli Babbitt was in the Capitol Building in January 6th. Was she guilty of trespass and disorderly conduct? Almost certainly. Protests are designed to make government uncomfortable. That is the point of civil disobedience.
That said, Ashli Babbitt should still be alive and well. A Capitol Police Lieutenant was not justified in pulling the trigger.
We have all seen the video.
Ashli was unarmed and was surrounded by armed and armored police. On one side of the broken door was Ashli along with at least four officers in full armor armed with rifles. On the other side of the broken door were at least six officers who were armed.
There is no honest case to be made that Ashli was a threat of serious harm to anyone. If the officers thought that the small number of protestors at that door were a genuine threat they could have easily gunned them down. The protestors did not attack police who were literally right next to them showing that they were not bent on doing harm.
If Ashli had gotten through that broken door what exactly was she going to do with at least 10 officers, all armed and some armored, literally surrounding her?
One officer pulled the trigger. If the threat was so real why is it that the other officers who were three feet away not firing or engaging in any force at all? The obvious answer is because those officers saw no threat. The shooting of Ashli Babbitt was not righteous, nor was it justified. It was negligent.
The spin of this incident appearing in the elite media is sickening and worrisome.
The officer, a lieutenant, was essentially serving as a potential last line of defense between the rioters and members of Congress, thus providing some justification for his actions and falling well short of the standard necessary to charge a police officer with a civil-rights violation for a shooting, the people said.
“That’s where he drew the line in the sand,” a fellow Capitol Police officer said, adding that the lieutenant, whose police powers have been suspended, is expected to return to his previous status, though he is afraid of being retaliated against by Trump supporters.
Really? How come the other officers who were right there didn’t see this “line?”
“Without question he should be cleared,” a lawyer for the officer, Mark Schamel of the law firm Lowenstein Sandler, said. “There’s no way to look at the evidence and think he’s anything but a hero,” he said.
Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R., Okla.), who witnessed the shooting, said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal last month that he saw a Capitol Police lieutenant in a defensive position in front of the House lobby’s doors.
The GOP congressman said he was alarmed because there were still lawmakers and press trapped in the third-floor balcony inside the chamber, overlooking the floor.
“I believe they were wanting to hurt us,” he said of the mob that was banging on the door.
Really? Then how come the small group of protestors at the door at no time tried to harm the officers who were right there with them as we saw in the video? The officers in full armor with rifles were not even taking a threatening posture. Why? Because the officers obviously understood that they were not in danger.
This Orwellian use of false narrative we see in the Wall Street Journal reminds us of the Randy Weaver trial where the government testified that they had to use snipers and rules of engagement (that basically amounted to shoot on sight orders) that were not just in violation of policy, but were unconstitutional, because “Weaver had planted booby traps on the property.” Legendary defense attorney Gerry Spence then asked the government how it was that the dogs, chickens, and other animals on the property somehow managed to avoid these terrible traps?
In evaluating such cases, federal prosecutors must establish not only that an officer used excessive force but also that the officer willfully violated someone’s constitutional rights. That high bar makes bringing federal charges against an officer difficult, and legal experts had predicted that any such case in connection with Ms. Babbitt’s death was unlikely.
We are not lawyers, but we do have some legal training. If this really is the legal standard for federal officers when they use deadly force this amounts to near full immunity for almost any negligence. Proving that an officer fired because they were hellbent on violating their target’s civil rights requires getting into someone’s head which is all but impossible. No one should have the power to use deadly force with this kind of immunity. No one.
The police investigators have made an initial determination that charges against the officer aren’t warranted, the people said, adding that Justice Department officials haven’t yet made a final determination on the matter.
Call your Member of Congress and Senators. Let your voice be heard.