Family members of Ashli Babbitt, the woman fatally shot during the breach of the U.S. Capitol building on January 6, plan to sue Capitol Police and the officer who shot Babbitt, for at least $10 million, according to their attorney.
“The civil suit will follow the April 14 decision by federal prosecutors not to seek criminal charges against a plainclothes police lieutenant whose single shot killed Babbitt, who was unarmed,” Zenger News reported Thursday.
Babbitt was a 14-year veteran who served four tours with the United States Air Force, according to Breitbart News.
The police lieutenant who shot her has not publicly given his side of the incident, and officials have not released his identity. However, Terry Roberts, the Babbitt family’s lawyer, said he knew the officer’s name.
“A rookie police officer would not have shot this woman,” Roberts said. “If she committed any crime by going through the window and into the Speaker’s Lobby, it would have been trespassing. Some misdemeanor crime. All a rookie cop would have done is arrest her.”
The Zenger News article continued:
“And he has plenty of other officers there to assist with arrest,” he said of the shooter. “You had officers on Ashli’s side of the door in riot gear and holding submachine guns. And on the other side of the door you have another uniformed officer 6 or 8 feet away. Whose life is he saving by shooting her? … She’s not brandishing a weapon. She’s on the window ledge. And there’s no reason to think she’s armed.”
Roberts said economic losses from the 35-year-old’s death would likely total $2 million. Non-economic claims, such as punitive damages, would push the sum far higher. $10 million is “a good estimate,” he said. Wrongful death lawsuits face no practical monetary limit under District of Columbia law.
“We intend to vindicate Ashli’s constitutional rights, which were egregiously violated,” Roberts noted.
Regarding federal prosecutors’ decision not to charge the officer who shot Babbitt, the Associated Press (AP) reported, “The Justice Department does not bring criminal charges in most police shootings it investigates in part because of the high burden for prosecution.”
“Criminal charges were not expected in this case because videos of the shooting show Babbitt encroaching into a prohibited space, and second-guessing the actions of an officer during the violent and chaotic day would have been a challenge,” the article concluded.