The death of Ashli Babbitt, an Air Force veteran who was the only person to die during a riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, is coming under renewed scrutiny.
The unarmed 35-year-old was reportedly shot by a Capitol Police officer as she attempted to climb through a window outside a hallway leading to the House floor. Last week, a conservative watchdog group announced that it had obtained new information that it said raises troubling questions about her death — and the government’s lack of transparency about it in the months since.
“A scandal of epic proportions”
Judicial Watch announced on Friday that it had gained access to over a thousand pages of documents concerning Babbitt’s shooting and its aftermath.
“These new documents reveal that OCME submitted a request for permission to cremate Babbitt only two days after taking custody of her body and that, due to the ‘high profile nature’ of Babbitt’s case, Deputy Chief Medical Examiner Francisco Diaz requested that a secure electronic file with limited access be created for Babbitt’s records,” the watchdog group said in a press release.
“Additionally, Babbitt’s fingerprints were emailed to a person supposedly working for the DC government, which resulted in Microsoft ‘undeliverable’ messages written in Chinese characters being returned,” the group added.
Headed by Tom Fitton, the group went on to explain that the material was acquired through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request first filed on April 8, 2021, with the Metropolitan Police Department and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.
“There is intense public interest in the shooting of Ashli Babbitt at the Capitol on January 6,” the group said in its statement. “The continued secrecy and delayed release of information about the shooting death of Ashli Babbitt are suspicious and smacks of politics.”
The group also said “the Metropolitan Police Department has not yet produced documents about the shooting of Ms. Babbitt,” calling of the lack of transparency surrounding her death “a scandal of epic proportions.”
“A false narrative”
According to a report from Fox News, Babbitt’s family has announced plans to file a $10 million wrongful death suit over her shooting.
“It’s not debatable,” family attorney Terry Roberts said last week. “There was no warning. I would call what he [the officer] did an ambush. I don’t think he’s a good officer. I think he’s reckless.”
An attorney for the officer who shot Babbitt disputed Roberts’ characterization of the events, however.
“It’s a false narrative that he issued no verbal commands or warnings,” Mark Schamel said of his client, who has not been publicly identified, according to Fox. “He was screaming, ‘Stay back! Stay back! Don’t come in here!'”