Ashli Babbitt

DOJ Decision Proves Two Tiers of Justice in America; Punishment Depends on the Color of the Victims’ Skin

Photo Credit: Image by mjimages from Pixabay

Two tragic unintended police shootings. The officer responsible for the first and arguably more egregious death was given complete anonymity and was not criminally charged for his actions. His victim was unarmed. She was trespassing in the Capitol building. The other officer’s name was immediately revealed to the public and she was charged criminally within days of the incident. Her victim was armed and there was an outstanding warrant for his arrest. He was facing first degree aggravated robbery charges for pointing a gun at and choking a woman (twice) who would not hand over her cash to him. The difference? The color of the victims’ skin. There are now two tiers of justice in America.

The Biden Department of Justice issued a press release on Wednesday to announce they had closed their investigation into the death of Ashli Babbitt, the thirty five-year-old Air Force veteran who was shot dead by a U.S. Capitol police officer during the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. The DOJ “will not pursue criminal charges against the officer involved.” The identity of the officer remains unknown.

The DOJ’s decision sparked no riots, no looting, no destruction. Just sadness.

The statement (printed below) explains that not only would prosecutors have to prove that “the officer used force that was constitutionally unreasonable, but that the officer did so ‘willfully,’ which the Supreme Court has interpreted to mean that the officer acted with a bad purpose to disregard the law. As this requirement has been interpreted by the courts, evidence that an officer acted out of fear, mistake, panic, misperception, negligence, or even poor judgment cannot establish the high level of intent required under Section 242.”

The Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, police officer, Kimberly Potter, who mistakenly drew her firearm instead of her Taser and shot Daunte Wright on Sunday, did not do so willfully. Yet, her identity was immediately revealed publicly. Riots erupted in the city. Additional riots broke out in other U.S. cities. And it took only days for her to be charged with second degree manslaughter.

So, what’s the difference? Oh yeah, one victim was white. The other was black.

America is no longer the land of the free. Justice is dead.

 

Press Release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Columbia:  April 14, 2021

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice will not pursue criminal charges against the U.S. Capitol Police officer involved in the fatal shooting of 35-year-old Ashli Babbitt, the Office announced today.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia’s Public Corruption and Civil Rights Section and the Civil Rights Division, with the Metropolitan Police Department’s Internal Affairs Division (IAD), conducted a thorough investigation of Ms. Babbitt’s shooting. Officials examined video footage posted on social media, statements from the officer involved and other officers and witnesses to the events, physical evidence from the scene of the shooting, and the results of an autopsy. Based on that investigation, officials determined that there is insufficient evidence to support a criminal prosecution. Officials from IAD informed a representative of Ms. Babbitt’s family today of this determination.

The investigation determined that, on January 6, 2021, Ms. Babbitt joined a crowd of people that gathered on the U.S. Capitol grounds to protest the results of the 2020 presidential election. Inside the Capitol building, a Joint Session of Congress, convened to certify the results of the Electoral College vote, was underway. Members of the crowd outside the building, which was closed to the public during the Joint Session, eventually forced their way into the Capitol building and past U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) officers attempting to maintain order. The Joint Session was stopped, and the USCP began evacuating members of Congress.

The investigation further determined that Ms. Babbitt was among a mob of people that entered the Capitol building and gained access to a hallway outside “Speaker’s Lobby,” which leads to the Chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives. At the time, the USCP was evacuating Members from the Chamber, which the mob was trying to enter from multiple doorways. USCP officers used furniture to barricade a set of glass doors separating the hallway and Speaker’s Lobby to try and stop the mob from entering the Speaker’s Lobby and the Chamber, and three officers positioned themselves between the doors and the mob. Members of the mob attempted to break through the doors by striking them and breaking the glass with their hands, flagpoles, helmets, and other objects. Eventually, the three USCP officers positioned outside the doors were forced to evacuate. As members of the mob continued to strike the glass doors, Ms. Babbitt attempted to climb through one of the doors where glass was broken out. An officer inside the Speaker’s Lobby fired one round from his service pistol, striking Ms. Babbitt in the left shoulder, causing her to fall back from the doorway and onto the floor. A USCP emergency response team, which had begun making its way into the hallway to try and subdue the mob, administered aid to Ms. Babbitt, who was transported to Washington Hospital Center, where she succumbed to her injuries.

The focus of the criminal investigation was to determine whether federal prosecutors could prove that the officer violated any federal laws, concentrating on the possible application of 18 U.S.C. § 242, a federal criminal civil rights statute. In order to establish a violation of this statute, prosecutors must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the officer acted willfully to deprive Ms. Babbitt of a right protected by the Constitution or other law, here the Fourth Amendment right not to be subjected to an unreasonable seizure. Prosecutors would have to prove not only that the officer used force that was constitutionally unreasonable, but that the officer did so “willfully,” which the Supreme Court has interpreted to mean that the officer acted with a bad purpose to disregard the law. As this requirement has been interpreted by the courts, evidence that an officer acted out of fear, mistake, panic, misperception, negligence, or even poor judgment cannot establish the high level of intent required under Section 242.

The investigation revealed no evidence to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that the officer willfully committed a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 242. Specifically, the investigation revealed no evidence to establish that, at the time the officer fired a single shot at Ms. Babbitt, the officer did not reasonably believe that it was necessary to do so in self-defense or in defense of the Members of Congress and others evacuating the House Chamber. Acknowledging the tragic loss of life and offering condolences to Ms. Babbitt’s family, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and U.S. Department of Justice have therefore closed the investigation into this matter.

3 replies »

  1. “Specifically, the investigation revealed no evidence to establish that, at the time the officer fired a single shot at Ms. Babbitt, the officer did not reasonably believe that it was necessary to do so in self-defense or in defense of the Members of Congress and others evacuating the House Chamber.”

    I keep reading this in the hope that my brain will in some way connect to the court’s logic and argument, but it may require a miracle burst of understanding….How does this even make sense? The officer was NOT in fear for his life or the lives of the congress critters he was there to protect, and since he didn’t operate out of fear, panic, etc…. it was okay for him to shoot Ms. Babbitt? Maybe I am just an idiot and the court’s logic is crystal clear to everyone else on the planet, or maybe this is why I didn’t go to law school.

  2. The attempt to court packing, along with the misuse of the criminal justice system, are evidence that we are moving to a banana republic. The only thing that might stop it is states’ rights and the states defense of the Constitution.

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