Op-Ed

 By Michael Letts  July 30, 2022 at 3:05pm

Though the Jan. 6 committee recently wrapped up its “investigation” into the so-called “insurrection” that took place at the U.S. Capitol a year and a half ago, I can’t help but wonder how some things are still left uninvestigated. For instance, the death of veteran Ashli Babbitt.

For those unfamiliar, let me paint a scenario based on video taken at the scene.

Babbitt attended the rally alongside others. In the midst of it, Babbitt — who, if I need to remind you, was unarmed at the time — stuck her head up to a broken window. Just as she stuck her head through, plainclothes Capitol Police officer Lt. Michael Byrd fired a shot, sending her falling back into the crowd. Babbitt would die from her wounds as blood poured out of her mouth.

I am left wondering why justice has not been granted to Ashli Babbitt. I know her husband, Aaron, and her brother, Roger Witthoeft, certainly want answers, as do others. But the Jan. 6 committee hasn’t provided these answers, being hellbent on finding other facts.

A full-scale investigation should have occurred since the standard protocol wasn’t followed for a plainclothes officer opening fire on an unarmed civilian. Even in the face of what some call a riot, there’s no excuse for making a split-second decision like that, especially one resulting in the death of someone like Babbitt.

Some may believe that Babbitt’s demise was simply the result of a “hate mob” storming the Capitol. But let’s take a closer look at the facts and why an investigation is warranted, shall we?

There are standardized procedures in place to investigate tragic incidents involving a law enforcement officer having to shoot a suspect perceived as a threat. It is standard protocol when an officer discharges his weapon for that officer to be placed on administrative leave. An independent outside authority investigates the incident to determine the factual basis of the shooting and the circumstances surrounding it.

This should have eventually led to a referral to the office of the district attorney or the prosecutor to determine if any charges should’ve been brought forth. From there, an outside agency should have been utilized to ensure a proper overview since it can be questioned when an agency investigates itself.

Several aspects were inconsistent with the standard protocol. The incident never received a proper investigation by an outside agency but was merely given what’s called a “cursory overview” by an internal division.

Should Babbitt’s death be investigated more closely?

There’s one problem, though: This division never got around to questioning Byrd’s actions, and no independent reports reviewed by prosecuting agencies were ever made. So the real question is, why?

Let’s dig a little deeper into this. First, the circumstances surrounding a shooting ask for the officer to defend himself using justifiable deadly force. It’s essential that a reasonably perceived threat exists to the officer, his partners or any innocent civilians in harm’s way. As someone who’s been involved with law enforcement for over 30 years, I know this by the book. And nothing about the Babbitt shooting was by the book.

It should be noted that Babbitt had already walked through a metal detector, had no weapons or firearms on her person, and was carrying nothing in her hands. Moreover, video from the scene showed that she even attempted to help law enforcement de-escalate the situation.

That leaves me to wonder how the definition of justifiable deadly force was ever met. None seemed apparent. From everything I’ve seen, Ashli Babbitt’s death was a clear case of murder under color of authority.

I, along with many Americans, have to question what’s happening with the Jan. 6 committee. From the looks of it, it exists to destroy its opponents, namely former President Donald Trump and his supporters. But in the process, the murder of an innocent American veteran is being covered up, with barely any question as to what happened to her.

The committee is set to reconvene in September, but judging by what we’ve seen, it’s unlikely it will investigate what truly needs investigation unless there is sufficient public outcry between now and then.

We owe it to all veterans, as well as the people of this great country, to come to the truth instead of accepting a partisan narrative.

If the committee really wanted to do some good, it would investigate the killing of Ashli Babbitt instead of simply glossing over it to administer its distorted form of political justice. We owe it to Ashli.

The views expressed in this opinion article are those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by the owners of this website. If you are interested in contributing an Op-Ed to The Western Journal, you can learn about our submission guidelines and process here.

Michael Letts is the founder and CEO of In-VestUSA, a national grassroots non-profit organization helping hundreds of communities provide thousands of bulletproof vests for their police forces through educational, public relations, sponsorship and fundraising programs.

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