Ashli Babbitt’s mom defends daughter’s actions at Jan. 6riot

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Ashli Babbitt's mom defends daughter's actions at Jan. 6riot

The mother of Ashli Babbitt, the woman fatally shot during the Jan. 6 riot, stood on the Capitol steps Thursday and claimed her daughter was exercising a legitimate right to protest when she was killed by a US Capitol police officer one year ago.

“My daughter was an amazing, energetic, independent, powerful woman. I miss her every day,” Micki Witthoeft said through tears as members of Congress gathered inside to remember the first anniversary of the attacks.

“I’m here because Americans do have the right to protest, it’s your right as an American citizen to protest,” she continued.

Babbitt, a 36-year-old Air Force veteran, was shot by US Capitol Police officer Lt. Michael Byrd as she tried to crawl through a broken window to enter the Speaker’s Lobby on Jan. 6, 2021 as a mob of Trump supporters were storming the Capitol in an effort to disrupt the results of the 2020 presidential election.

Ashli Babbitt's mother stands near the US Capitol with a poster of her daughter, who was killed during the riot.
The mother of Ashli Babbitt, who was fatally shot during the Jan. 6 riot, stood on the Capitol steps on the riot’s anniversary to claim that her daughter was exercising her right to protest.
Stephen Yang
Micki Witthoeft visits Capitol Hill on the year anniversary of the riots.
Micki Witthoeft claimed that her daughter was “murdered by a careless, reckless” Capitol Police officer.
Stephen Yang
Witthoeft wearing US sunglasses at the Capitol.
Witthoeft has also called for the release of 14,000 hours of video captured on security cameras in the Capitol.
Stephen Yang

“My daughter was a proud American patriot,” Witthoeft said. “She served this country her whole adult life. She loved God, America and loved her family.”

Witthoeft then claimed her daughter was “murdered by a careless, reckless” Capitol Police officer.  

“She came to DC to hear Donald Trump speak about a stolen election, and little did we know that would be the last time she heard anybody speak,” the grieving mom said. 

Ashli Babbitt lies on the ground after being shot during a protest at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021.
Babbitt was shot by a US Capitol Police officer while she tried to crawl through a broken window to enter the Speaker’s Lobby on Jan. 6, 2021.
Bloomberg via Getty Images
Ashli Babbitt wears MAGA hats
Ashli Babbitt was a 36-year-old Air Force veteran and Trump supporter.
Twitter

Byrd was exonerated of any wrongdoing in Babbitt’s death in an internal use-of-force probe.

In an interview with NBC News last August, Byrd said he was “doing my job” and saw Babbitt as a threat to lawmakers in the House of Representatives. 

“I was very afraid,” Byrd told anchor Lester Holt. “I’m hearing about the breaches of different barricaded areas, officers being overrun, officers being down.”

Witthoeft also called for the release of 14,000 hours of video captured on security cameras in the Capitol.

“I would like to say to [House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi, this is not your playhouse. These surveillance cameras were put up to capture what happened that day and the American people have the right to see the 14,000 hours of footage,” she said. “You’re not the queen, Nancy Pelosi, this is America’s 14,000 hours of missing footage and we have a right to see it.”

Capitol Police and prosecutors have refused to release the footage, because they contend it could threaten the security of the building.

But federal judge Beryl Howell ruled in September that the “public has an interest in understanding the conduct underlying the charges in these cases” and ordered the footage to be released in the trial of protester Eric Torrens of Tennessee.

“The Capitol police operate with impunity, which I did not know until my daughter was publicly executed,” Witthoeft said.

“I think most of America does not know the Capitol police department is not subject to transparency – they are another arm of Congress and don’t answer to an external review like every other police department in this country,” she said. 

The Justice Department has arrested and charged more than 725 people for their involvement in the Capitol attacks. 

Witthoeft said those arrested are being held unfairly.

“We have political prisoners in America, not some third world country, to this day in solitary confinement denied due process. Most of them veterans, who fought for their right to be in this country, to exercise their First Amendment right to protest — and they are being denied the rights they fought for,” she said.

As Congress marked the anniversary with a moment of silence and President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris delivered speeches, a few supporters of the Jan. 6 effort gathered nearby. 

Keith Scott, who described himself as a proud Capitol rioter, traveled to DC from Corpus Christi, Texas, to observe the anniversary. 

“It was the greatest day of my life,” he said as he stood near the Ulysses S. Grant Memorial at the base of Capitol Hill.

“I felt like a patriot – like a patriot before the signing of the Declaration of Independence – and I still feel that way.”

But he said he was disappointed the anniversary didn’t draw other supporters of former President Donald Trump. 

“Loyal Trump supporters are worn out,” he said.

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