Investigators probing the shooting of Ashli Babbitt during the Capitol Hill riots have allegedly stated that the officer who shot her should not be charged with any crimes, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Babbitt, who served for more than twelve years in the Air Force and Air National Guard, died after being shot by a Capitol Hill police officer during the riots on Jan. 6. The officer put a bullet through a door after a crowd had formed around an entrance to the Speaker’s Lobby.
The officer was placed on administrative leave while the investigation was ongoing.
The Justice Department said that it was following routine procedure whenever an officer uses deadly force. The Washington Metropolitan Police Department would be tasked with examining the evidence.
The investigators have come to a determination that charges are not warranted for the officer, adding that the Justice Department had not made a decision yet.
Any final determination would have to be approved by senior Justice Department leadership, who have yet to be briefed on the decision. To the charge the officer, investigators must establish that the officer not only used excessive force, but also violated Babbitt’s constitutional rights.
The officer was serving as a last line of defense between the rioters and some members of Congress.
“That’s where he drew the line in the sand,” a Capitol Hill police officer told the New York Post. The officer also stated that he expects the officer who shot Babbitt to return to his previous duties, but is “afraid of being retaliated against by Trump supporters.”
“Without question he should be cleared,” Mark Schamel, a lawyer for the officer, told The Wall Street Journal. “There’s no way to look at the evidence and think he’s anything but a hero.”
“I believe they were wanting to hurt us,” Republican Oklahoma Rep. Markwayne Mullen, who allegedly witnessed the shooting, said. “My thought was, ‘How are we going to handle this one?'”
“Of course then everybody got really excited again,” Mullen said after the shooting. “But I’ll tell you, from my perspective, the lieutenant that did that, I truly feel that he saved some people’s lives that day.”
On Jan. 6., Babbitt tweeted, “Nothing will stop us … they can try and try and try but the storm is here and it is descending upon DC in less than 24 hours…dark to light!”