(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that it received multiple audio, visual and photo records from the DC Metropolitan Police Department about the shooting death of Ashli Babbitt on January 6, 2021, in the U.S. Capitol Building. The records include a cell phone video of the shooting and an audio of a brief police interview of the shooter, Lt. Michael Byrd.
Judicial Watch obtained the material through a May 2021 FOIA lawsuit filed after DC officials failed to respond to two April 2021 FOIA requests submitted by Judicial Watch to the Metropolitan Police Department and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for records related to Babbitt’s death (Judicial Watch v. The District of Columbia (No. 2021 CA 001710 B)).
Babbitt was shot and killed as she climbed through a broken interior window in the United States Capitol. She was unarmed, and a 14-year Air Force veteran. The identity of the shooter was kept secret by Congress as well as federal and local authorities for eight months until U.S. Capitol Police officer Michael Byrd went public to try to defend his killing of Babbitt.
The records include a new cell phone video, edited by the DC police, that depicts police reacting to the shooting.
Also included among the records is an audio recording of an interview of Lt. Michael Byrd by the DC Metropolitan Police on January 6, 2021. The voices in Byrd’s and other witness interview audio recordings are all digitally altered to try to hide identities.
The documents also include photos of the area where Babbitt was killed and DC police photographs of Lt. Byrd, his hands, and his gun. The photos also include pictures of a folding knife reportedly found in Babbitt’s pocket.
Other audio interviews of witnesses provide first-hand accounts of the shooting.
Last month, also as a result of this lawsuit, Judicial Watch released records from the DC Police about the shooting death of Babbitt, showing that multiple officers claimed they didn’t see a weapon in Babbitt’s hand before Byrd shot her, and that Byrd was visibly distraught afterward. One officer attested that he didn’t hear any verbal commands before Byrd shot Babbitt. Today’s records include audio recordings of these witness interviews. The records also include internal communications about Byrd’s case and a crime scene examination report.
“These recordings and photos provide dramatic, first-hand evidence that the shooting death of Ashli Babbitt was unjustified,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “It is disturbing that neither the Pelosi Congress nor the Biden/Garland DOJ took no action over this needless death.”
Judicial Watch also filed a FOIA lawsuit against the DOJ for records related to the shooting death of Ashli Babbitt on January 6, 2021, in the U.S. Capitol Building. The organization has several lawsuits about the January 6 issue, and just last week released records detailing how federal law enforcement knew a large crowd would be present at the U.S. Capitol on January 6.