Probe clears policeman who shot woman in US Capitol on January 6

Washington (AFP) –


A US police officer was cleared of wrongdoing Monday in the shooting death of a woman who joined the January 6 attack on Congress by supporters of president Donald Trump.

The US Capitol Police determined that the officer acted lawfully and correctly under department policy, which permits deadly force "in defense of human life, including the officer's own life, or in the defense of any person in immediate danger of serious physical injury."

The officer, who has not been identified, shot protestor Ashli Babbit, a 35-year-old air force veteran and fervid Trump supporter from San Diego, as she attempted to break through a doorway with dozens of others behind her.

In videos taken by the rioters, Babbitt and others are seen inside the Capitol pushing against a door to the Speakers Lobby, which would have given them access to the chamber of the House of Representatives.

Lawmakers fled past the door just minutes before. Babbitt, wearing a Trump flag like a cape, and others threaten to break through and push officers out of the way.

As they moved to break through the door, a policeman on the other side, wearing a Covid mask that has hid his identity, shot through the glass, hitting her in the neck.

Capitol Police said in a statement that the officer had potentially saved members of Congress and their staff "from serious injury and possible death from a large crowd of rioters."

They said he and his family have been the subject of numerous credible and specific threats since the shooting.

Trump supporters have sought to elevate Babbitt as a martyr, even as the US Justice Department is seeking to prosecute close to 600 of those who took part in the violent January 6 attack.

Trump, who had encouraged his supporters to stop Congress from certifying rival Joe Biden's victory in the November presidential election, has called her death a murder.

"I spoke to the wonderful mother and devoted husband of Ashli Babbitt, who was murdered at the hands of someone who should never have pulled the trigger of his gun," he said in a statement on August 11.

"The Radical Left haters cannot be allowed to get away with this. There must be justice!" he said.