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Capitol Police finds officer who fatally shot January 6 rioter acted lawfully

Washington — The U.S. Capitol Police said Monday that the officer who fatally shot a California woman during the January 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol acted lawfully and within the department's policy, concluding an internal investigation into the shooting that occurred outside the House of Representatives.

The Capitol Police said the officer involved in the shooting of Ashli Babbitt, 35, "will not be facing internal discipline" after its Office of Professional Responsibility determined his or her conduct "was lawful." 

The department also said the actions of the officer, who is not being identified for his or her safety, "potentially saved members and staff from serious injury and possible death" as a mob of President Donald Trump's supporters breached the U.S. Capitol and forced their way to the House chamber.

"USCP officers had barricaded the Speaker's Lobby with furniture before a rioter shattered the glass door. If the doors were breached, the rioters would have immediate access to the House chambers," the Capitol Police said. "The officer's actions were consistent with the officer's training and USCP policies and procedures."

The department said the officer and the officer's family have faced "numerous credible and specific threats" for their actions. The Capitol Police interviewed multiple witnesses and reviewed "all available evidence," including video and radio calls, as part of its probe, it said in its statement.

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In addition to being cleared by the Capitol Police for wrongdoing, federal prosecutors in the District of Columbia said they would not pursue criminal charges against the officer because of insufficient evidence.

Babbitt, an Air Force veteran, was shot and killed in the Speaker's Lobby, located outside the House chamber, on January 6. Video from inside the Capitol building showed her attempting to climb through a broken window outside the House chamber when the officer, who was guarding the entrance from the rioters, fired.

Babbitt, who traveled from California to D.C., was among those who believed the 2020 election was stolen from Mr. Trump. The former president has continued to claim without evidence that the election was rigged against him.

Babbitt's family said in April it plans to file a multimillion-dollar wrongful death lawsuit against the Capitol Police. They are also seeking records revealing the identity of the officer who shot her.

In a statement on Monday, Babbitt's family took issue with the Capitol Police Department's finding, arguing that "one cannot be shot for being potentially a threat," only an "imminent threat."

"It is not enough to say that an officer did nothing wrong without showing how it reached such a conclusion," the family said. 

In the months since the January 6 assault, some House Republicans, such as Congressman Paul Gosar of Arizona, and Mr. Trump have attempted to downplay the severity of the attack and demanded to know the identity of the officer involved in the fatal shooting. Mr. Trump said in a statement this month he has spoken to Babbitt's mother and defended the 35-year-old, claiming she was "murdered."

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