The Department of Justice won’t pursue charges against the officer who gunned down a pro-Trump rioter who breached the U.S. Capitol during the violent Jan. 6 insurrection, officials announced on April 14.
Ashli Babbitt, a 35-year-old woman, was shot and killed by a Capitol Police officer after she breached the Capitol building during the riot.
“Officials examined video footage posted on social media, statements from the officer involved and other officers and witnesses to the events, physical evidence from the scene of the shooting, and the results of an autopsy,” a statement from the Department of Justice said. “Based on that investigation, officials determined that there is insufficient evidence to support a criminal prosecution.”
Babbitt’s family was notified of the statement on Wednesday, according to the statement.
The events of Jan. 6 unraveled after then-President Donald Trump incited attendees of his “Save America” rally to march to Capitol Hill, where Congress was meeting to certify President Joe Biden’s victory.
Members of the mob overcame barriers, smashed windows, and breached the Capitol building in violent chaos that resulted in the deaths of five people, including Babbitt and a Capitol Police officer.
Babbitt was among a group of rioters who gained entry to a hallway outside of the Speaker’s Lobby, which leads to the House chamber. She was shot once by an Capitol officer as she attempted to climb through the broken window of a door to the lobby.
Babbitt, who fell to the ground after being shot in the left shoulder, was pronounced dead at Washington Hospital Center.
The Department of Justice said in a statement, “the investigation revealed no evidence to establish that, at the time the officer fired a single shot at Ms. Babbitt, 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.”
The name of the officer who shot Babbitt has not been released.
On social media, some conservative users expressed their disapproval of the decision. Conservative activist and author Brigitte Gabriel tweeted after officials announced the decision not to charge the officer, “Why doesn’t Ashli Babbitt’s life matter?”
User @USTRUMPMAN1 suggested the officer might have been charged if Babbitt wasn’t white.
Other users brought up the arrest of now-former Officer Kim Potter in the death of 20-year-old Daunte Wright as they shared thoughts on the DOJ’s announcement. Wright was shot by Potter on Sunday in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota after he got back in his car during a traffic stop, while being taken into custody for a misdemeanor warrant. Then-Police Chief Tim Gannon said Potter intended to deploy her stun gun and shot Wright accidentally.
Potter and Gannon have both resigned and Potter has been arrested and charged with second-degree manslaughter.
Conservative media personality and former Trump media surrogate Gina Loudon said the fact that Potter was charged but the officer who shot Babbitt was not indicates that there might be a “two-tiered justice system.”
JD Rucker, founder of the American Conservative Movement, echoed a similar sentiment.
Babbitt was a U.S. Air Force veteran and loyal Trump supporter who traveled to Washington to protest against the certification of the election results, according to her family.
Trump was impeached for the second time before he left office by the House of Representatives for “inciting” the protesters who stormed the Capitol, making him the first president to be impeached twice.