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Husband of Deceased Capitol Insurrection Participant Files Wrongful Death Suit against Federal Government

The Republican activist group Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit against the federal government on behalf of the husband of Ashli Babbitt. The suit alleges negligence and assault and battery after U.S. Capitol Police Lt. Michael Byrd shot her as she and a mob of trump supporters attended to gain entry into the Speaker’s Lobby on January 6 during the attack on Congress. Babbitt was captured on video climbing through a window into the Speaker’s Lobby moments before Byrd fired a shot. The suit acknowledges that she entered the Capitol after others had done so. She eventually made her way to the House chamber and to the Speaker’s lobby with others. She was wearing a Trump flag around her shoulders. Many lawmakers and staff were being evacuated by Capitol Police, but some were trapped in the House balcony.

The crowd began demolishing the door, which had been barricaded by Lt. Byrd and others. Babbitt was climbing through a window shattered by fellow insurgents while others were continuing to smash the other window panes of the door. Lt. Byrd Lt. Byrd fired one shot and she fell over. Babbitt eventually passed away from her injury. Congressman Markwayne Mullin witnessed the incident and said that Lt. Byrd had no choice, and had saved lives by firing when he did.

Afterward, some persons in conservative media have attempted to turn Babbitt into a martyr. Lt. Byrd was cleared of any wrongdoing in an internal Capitol police inquiry.

Federal Government BuildingLt. Byrd Legitimately Defended Himself and Others

The lawsuit contends that “Ashli posed no threat to the safety of anyone.” On the contrary, she and her bedfellows were a threat to Byrd and the Congressman that they were attempting to murder.

The lawsuit explicitly acknowledges that “After demonstrators filled the hallway outside the lobby, two individuals in the crowded, tightly packed hallway struck and dislodged the glass panels in the lobby doors and the right door sidelight.” As the video shows, the hallway was full of individuals who were unauthorized to be on capitol grounds, regardless of whether they were armed. Moreover, the video shows many such insurgents were holding weapons while smashing the windows where Byrd was standing behind. These individuals who were immediately around or right behind Ashli were armed and were reasonably perceived as dangerous even if Ashli herself was allegedly unarmed.

Given that the hallway was narrow, the mob would have overtaken the officers in the hall had they gotten past the barricade. The mob grossly outnumbered the officers until law enforcement reinforcements arrived. Lt. Byrd’s actions saved not only his own life, but also the lives of lawmakers who were being evacuated from the Speaker’s lobby where he was barricaded.

Babbitt and her cohort believed they were engaging in another American revolution against the establishment. However, none of them were prepared for actual casualties, even though they

were willing to endanger others. Babbitt was negligent in her own conduct and caused her own death, not the federal government.

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