A capitol police memo obtained by NBC News revealed on Friday that a department investigation and review of the fatal shooting of Ashli Babbitt in the Capitol building on January 6th has officially and formally cleared the officer involved of having violated any laws or procedures.
In the video we have all seen, and which has been the subject not just of public debate and press reporting but of statements from politicians up to and including Donald Trump, the shooting and aftermath are all clearly visible, recorded by another person with the crowd. She was killed by the only shot fired that day, as she attempted to climb through the doors to the Speaker’s Lobby, which had been barricaded and were being guarded by the officer who fired and two others.
NBC’s report states that the Justice Department’s decision in April not to bring charges was not the end of the review, as the Capitol Police did what police departments always do, which is to conduct an internal investigation of the shooting.
The exoneration by the Capitol Police wraps up the last remaining investigation into the incident.
A memo from the commander of the Capitol Police’s Office of Personal Responsibility says “no further action will be taken in this matter” after the officer was exonerated for use of force.
Technically the officer has simply been cleared of wrongdoing. Exonerated is typically reserved for someone who is accused of committing an act that they did not commit. The officer was not formally accused of anything, but his actions were reviewed for their lawfulness, and he was cleared of any violations or doing anything improper. That means he is not held culpable or in error. Exonerated would be more like they found out he didn’t even fire, or that she wasn’t killed by him. There was no accusation against him by the Justice Department or the Capitol Police for him to be exonerated of.
Babbitt was a wife, a friend, and a decorated military veteran who served multiple tours in the Middle East. She was a devoted Trump supporter. She was 35 years old.
Her husband and her family’s attorney’s have not yet commented on the news.