By Nick Arama | Jul 08, 2021 8:15 PM ET Share Tweet
We’ve been reporting on the question of who shot Ashli Babbitt. This shouldn’t be a political question. But it’s become one, so much so it even had President Donald Trump raise the question.
It’s a basic issue of transparency that is revealed in virtually every other case. It’s what we’ve come to expect in a free society. It’s also not just the name but the release of further facts that have not been provided by the Capitol Police in regard to the case. But the Capitol Police are controlled by Congress and so are not subject to FOIA. So despite requests, including from Babbitt’s family, the Capitol Police have refused to give up the name.
Because of that, there was at least one person falsely identified as the officer who did the shooting. The USCP termed that report misidentifying a person as the officer as “misinformation.”
Now there’s a report as to what the real name is, based on what the acting House Sergeant at Arms said during a hearing on February 25, according to Real Clear Investigations.
Both C-SPAN and CNN removed his name from transcripts, but CQ Transcripts — which, according to its website, provides “the complete word from Capitol Hill; exactly as it was spoken” — recorded the Capitol official, Timothy Blodgett, referring to the cop as “Officer Byrd.” His name is clearly audible in the videotape of the hearing (at around 39:20).
RCI is identifying that as Lt. Michael L. Byrd. While the USCP denied the prior report, they so far have not denied this report.
Byrd appears to match the description of the shooter, who video footage shows is an African American dressed that day in a business suit. Jewelry, including a beaded bracelet and lapel pin, also match up with photos of Byrd.
In addition, Byrd’s resume lines up with what is known about the experience and position of the officer involved in the shooting — a veteran USCP officer who holds the rank of lieutenant and is the commander of the House Chamber Section of the Capitol Police.
The DOJ previously announced in April that they would not be pursuing charges against the officer, as their 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.”
The family of Babbitt, who was not told the name of the officer, announced they would be suing the Capitol Police for $10 million.
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