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Husband of slain rioter seeks records

by The Washington Post | June 10, 2021 at 4:17 a.m.

The husband of a woman who was shot to death by a police officer during the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol has asked a judge to order the disclosure of records related to an investigation that determined the shooting was justified.

The woman, 35-year-old Ashli Babbitt, was among a mob of supporters of President Donald Trump who rampaged through the Capitol, trying to disrupt congressional certification of President Joe Biden’s election victory. She was fatally shot by a U.S. Capitol Police officer as she attempted to breach a set of doors deep inside the building.

Federal prosecutors have concluded there was insufficient evidence to prove Babbitt’s civil rights were violated. Authorities said it was reasonable for the officer to believe he was firing in self-defense or in defense of members of Congress, their aides and others.

The District of Columbia police led the investigation into Babbitt’s shooting.

In a lawsuit filed June 1 in D.C. Superior Court, Babbitt’s husband, Aaron Babbitt of San Diego, asked a judge to order the disclosure of D.C. police investigative records, including witness statements, detectives’ reports, video footage and documents with the name of the officer who fired the fatal shot. The officer has not been publicly identified.

Aaron Babbitt said he requested the records in April under the Freedom of Information Act and got no reply. He said the city has neither provided records nor demonstrated “that the requested records are lawfully exempt from production.” The D.C. government has not yet responded to the lawsuit in court. An initial hearing before a judge is scheduled for Sept. 3.

Babbitt’s killing became one of the defining moments of the riot after graphic videos of the shooting spread across social media and were replayed by news outlets. In closing the investigation in mid-April, federal prosecutors in D.C. acknowledged “the tragic loss of life” and offered condolences to Babbitt’s family.

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