“Under Byrd’s interpretation, hundreds of rioters could have been gunned down on Jan. 6.”29 Aug 2021 ~~ By Stacey Matthews
Jonathan Turley: Statements By Capitol Police Officer Who Killed Ashli Babbitt ‘Demolish the Two Official Reviews That Cleared Him’"Under Byrd's interpretation, hundreds of rioters could have been gunned down on Jan. 6."legalinsurrection.com
Numerous aspects of what unfolded during the Capitol riot have been hotly debated in the months since it happened, but few have been as contentious and emotional as the debate over the officer-involved shooting death of Trump supporter Ashli Babbitt.
The 35-year-old Air Force veteran was shot and killed by Capitol Police Lt. Michael Byrd on January 6th after she tried to climb through a glass-paneled door after parts of it had been shattered by another rioter, identified as Zachary Jordan Alam.
Babbitt, who reportedly had been standing next to Alam, was shot.
n April, the Biden Department of Justice announced they had closed the investigation into the fatal shooting and would not be pursuing criminal charges against Byrd, citing “insufficient evidence to support a criminal prosecution.”
Just last week, the Capitol Police confirmed a report from NBC News that they had exonerated Byrd, a 28-year veteran of the force. They stated in a press release that Byrd – who they did not name – “will not be facing internal discipline” because in their view Byrd’s conduct “was lawful and within Department policy, which says an officer may use deadly force only when the officer reasonably believes that action is in the defense of human life, including the officer’s own life, or in the defense of any person in immediate danger of serious physical injury.”
On the heels of the USCP exonerating Byrd, he did an interview with NBC News anchor Lester Holt, identifying himself publicly for the first time.
Instead of clearing things up, the interview only intensified the debate over his actions and whether they were justified. Here’s a key moment from their back and forth:
Video shot by a person in the crowd showed two officers posted in front of the door. Heavily outnumbered, they eventually stepped aside.Byrd said he had no knowledge that any officers were there. Because of the furniture stacked on his side of the door, he also couldn’t make out how many people were on the other side or whether they were carrying weapons.“It was impossible for me to see what was on the other side,” he said.But he did see the person now known to be Babbitt start coming through the broken glass.“I could not fully see her hands or what was in the backpack or what the intentions are,” Byrd said. “But they had shown violence leading up to that point.”Byrd, who says he has been in hiding since that day and has faced death threats, told Holt it was the first time he’d ever fired his weapon.
Watch an edited version of the interview below:
The extended interview can be viewed here.
Georgetown University Law School Professor Jonathan Turley, who has long been a critic of official media narratives surrounding the shooting, said that instead of confirming that the respective decisions by the DOJ and the Capitol Police not to pursue action against Byrd were the right ones to make that Byrd “proceeded to demolish the two official reviews that cleared him” after he admitted he could not determine whether Babbitt was armed:
He expanded on his opinion in a piece published at The Hill:
While the Supreme Court, in cases such as Graham v. Connor, has said that courts must consider “the facts and circumstances of each particular case,” it has emphasized that lethal force must be used only against someone who is “an immediate threat to the safety of the officers or others, and … is actively resisting arrest or attempting to evade arrest by flight.” Particularly with armed assailants, the standard governing “imminent harm” recognizes that these decisions must often be made in the most chaotic and brief encounters. Under these standards, police officers should not shoot unarmed suspects or rioters without a clear threat to themselves or fellow officers.[…]Legal experts and the media have avoided the obvious implications of the two reviews in the Babbitt shooting. Under this standard, hundreds of rioters could have been gunned down on Jan. 6 — and officers in cities such as Seattle or Portland, Ore., could have killed hundreds of violent protesters who tried to burn courthouses, took over city halls or occupied police stations during last summer’s widespread rioting. In all of those protests, a small number of activists from both political extremes showed up prepared for violence and pushed others to riot. According to the DOJ’s Byrd review, officers in those cities would not have been required to see a weapon in order to use lethal force in defending buildings.I’m not a legal analyst, but I think Turley makes some good points here.
Not a single officer at the Capitol that day was threatened with deadly force. If they had been, other rioters would have been shot. “Context” shows that the officer’s lives were not in danger, and no other officer present thought that they were. This includes the officers who had their guns drawn right alongside Byrd; even they did not fire.
Someone crawling through a broken window? Haul them through, put them in zip ties, pass them to another officer to take away, or tell them to sit down and don’t move. Byrd was not a homeowner at night in the dark, defending his home while alone. He was a trained LEO, with armed fellow officers by his side, and still had a barrier between himself and other rioters, who were not known to have been armed (and were, in fact, not armed).
Please note the following:
In incidents involving police shootings, LEO's have been prosecuted for shooting supposed unarmed perpetrators, yet in this case there is no indictment or real investigation. The justification of the murder of Ashli Babbitt is purely political and Byrd has virtually gotten away with murder.
Succinctly said. If Byrd were White and Babbitt were Black, there would have been riots, arson and looting. Personally, I would like him to receive justice.
141 officers were injured and numerous were seriously injured. The reason for this was because they refused to fire. I have no issue with hundreds being killed. I don't give a damn about terrorists.