A constitutional expert is warning the excuse used by Capitol police officer Michael Byrd for shooting an unarmed protester at the January riot in Washington is more than dangerous.
“Under this standard, hundreds of rioters could have been gunned down on Jan. 6 – and officers in cities such as Seattle or Portland, Ore., could have killed hundreds of violent protesters who tried to burn courthouses, took over city halls or occupied police stations during last summer’s widespread rioting,” said constitutional expert Jonathan Turley.
“In all of those protests, a small number of activists from both political extremes showed up prepared for violence and pushed others to riot. According to the DOJ’s Byrd review, officers in those cities would have been required to see a weapon in order to use lethal force in defending buildings,” he said.
A report at Legal Insurrection explained the issue has arisen again because Byrd has publicly identified himself as the cop who shot and killed an unarmed Ashli Babbitt, a veteran, on that day.
She reportedly was trying to climb through a glass-paneled door after parts of it had been broken by another rioter.
The Biden Department of Justice has said it will not charge the officer, and his own police agency cleared him. The Capitol police force claimed Byrd’s act of shooting an unarmed woman “was lawful and within department policy, which says an officer may use deadly force only when the officer reasonably believes that action is in the defense of human life, including the officer’s own life, or in the defense of any person in immediate danger of serious physical injury.”
Turley, a professor at Georgetown University Law School, pointed out that the details that have emerged now, from Byrd, “proceeded to demolish the two official reviews that cleared him.”
Turley explained, “I have long expressed doubt over the Babbitt shooting, which directly contradicted standards on the use of lethal force by law enforcement. But what was breathtaking about Byrd’s interview was that he confirmed the worst suspicions about the shooting…
“…Of all of the lines from Byrd, this one stands out: ‘I could not fully see her hands or what was in the backpack or what the intentions are.’ So, Byrd admitted he did not see a weapon or an immediate threat from Babbitt beyond her trying to enter through the window…”
He continued, “No other officers facing similar threats shot anyone in any other part of the Capitol, even those who were attacked by rioters armed with clubs or other objects. Under Byrd’s interpretation, hundreds of rioters could have been gunned down on Jan. 6.”
I have long expressed doubt over the Babbitt shooting, which directly contradicted standards on the use of lethal force by law enforcement. But what was breathtaking about Byrd’s interview was that he confirmed the worst suspicions about the shooting …https://t.co/66xjvIK0hh
— Jonathan Turley (@JonathanTurley) August 28, 2021
…No other officers facing similar threats shot anyone in any other part of the Capitol, even those who were attacked by rioters armed with clubs or other objects. Under Byrd’s interpretation, hundreds of rioters could have been gunned down on Jan. 6.
— Jonathan Turley (@JonathanTurley) August 28, 2021
Byrd, in an interview with a news organization, admitted he couldn’t see exactly what was going on, or whether anyone was carrying a weapon.
He stated, “It was impossible for me to see what was on the other side.” Regarding Babbitt, he said, “I could not fully see her hands or what was in the backpack or what the intentions are.”
Turley expanded on his comments in a followup column at the Hill, where he noted, “While the Supreme Court, in cases such as Graham v. Connor, has said that courts must consider ‘the facts and circumstances of each particular case,’ it has emphasized that lethal force must be used only against someone who is ‘an immediate threat to the safety of the officers or others, and … is actively resisting arrest or attempting to evade arrest by fight.’”
He said, “Under these circumstances, police officers should not shoot unarmed suspects or rioters without a clear threat to themselves or fellow officers.”
Following Byrd’s network appearance to promote his side of the story, Ashli Babbitt’s widower told him, regarding his complaints about death threats, to “suck it up.”
“I don’t even want to hear him talk about how he’s getting death threats and he’s scared,” Aaron Babbitt said during an interview on Fox News’s Tucker Carlson, according to a report in the Washington Examiner.
Aaron Babbitt cited his own experience since Byrd shot his wife, a 35-year-old Air Force veteran, who was killed when she became part of a crowd that broke windows and doors at the Capital to enter that day.
It happened when Congress was scheduled to – and did – adopt the electoral results that turned over the White House to Joe Biden. Those results raised enough questions that there were lawsuits in dozens of states, and there continue to be audits, or plans for them, in several states.
What is not in question, however, is that local and state officials during the 2020 count violated the U.S. Constitution by arbitrarily ignoring or changing state laws regarding elections. The Constitution allows only state lawmakers to do that.
Further, that there were outside influences on those counts is without doubt, as leftist Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook wealth turned over some $350 million to mostly leftist election officials to help them “run” their operations.
Aaron Babbitt explained he’s been getting death threats, too.
“I’ve been getting death threats since Jan. 7 — two, three, five, 10 a day — and all I did on Jan. 6 was become a widower. So, you’re going to have to suck it up, bud, and take it,” Babbitt said.
Terry Roberts is a lawyer representing Babbitt’s family and reportedly is assembling a wrongful death lawsuit against the police department that could seek millions in damages.
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