Husband of Rioter Fatally Shot on Jan. 6 Files Suit

$30M wrongful death complaint against government was filed by Aaron Babbitt, spouse of Ashli Babbitt
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 6, 2024 7:00 AM CST
On Eve of Jan. 6 Anniversary, a Suit From Babbitt's Husband
This driver's license photo shows Ashli Babbitt.   (Maryland MVA/Courtesy of the Calvert County Sheriff's Office via AP)

Saturday marks the third anniversary of the Jan. 6 riot at the US Capitol, and it was preceded by the husband of a rioter shot dead by police filing a wrongful death suit. The Hill reports the $30 million complaint was filed Thursday by conservative activist group Judicial Watch on behalf of Aaron Babbitt, spouse of the late Ashli Babbitt, against the US government, accusing Capitol Police Lt. Michael Byrd of assault and battery and negligence for firing at Ashli Babbitt, a supporter of former President Donald Trump. "The facts speak truth. Ashli was ambushed when she was shot by Lt. Byrd," the suit reads. The complaint asserts that Byrd wasn't in uniform, didn't ID himself as an officer, and didn't issue any warnings to an unarmed Ashli Babbitt, 35, before her fatal shooting.

Byrd has previously said that he felt he had no choice but to fire during the chaotic scene, and that he saw it as his "last resort." "I tried to wait as long as I could," he told NBC in August 2021. "I hoped and prayed no one tried to enter through those doors. But their failure to comply required me to take the appropriate action to save the lives of members of Congress and myself and my fellow officers." Aaron Babbitt's complaint also insists that his wife headed from San Diego to Washington, DC, that day strictly to attend the rally headed by Trump at the Ellipse, not "as part of a group or for any unlawful or nefarious purpose."

The suit adds that "Ashli loved her country and wanted to show her support for President Trump's America First policies and to see and hear the president speak live while he remained in office," as well as "to exercise what she believed were her God-given, American liberties and freedoms." The complaint, which Judicial Watch notes was filed in the US District Court for the Southern District of California, says that Aaron Babbitt has experienced "pain, suffering, and emotional distress, loss of Ashli's services and companionship, loss of Ashli's projected future income, and other damages." (Babbitt's mother has had some skirmishes with the law.)

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