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Jonathan Turley: Statements By Capitol Police Officer Who Killed Ashli Babbitt ‘Demolish the Two Official Reviews That Cleared Him’

Jonathan Turley: Statements By Capitol Police Officer Who Killed Ashli Babbitt ‘Demolish the Two Official Reviews That Cleared Him’

“Under Byrd’s interpretation, hundreds of rioters could have been gunned down on Jan. 6.”

Numerous aspects of what unfolded during the Capitol riot have been hotly debated in the months since it happened, but few have been as contentious and emotional as the debate over the officer-involved shooting death of Trump supporter Ashli Babbitt.

The 35-year-old Air Force veteran was shot and killed by Capitol Police Lt. Michael Byrd on January 6th after she tried to climb through a glass-paneled door after parts of it had been shattered by another rioter, identified as Zachary Jordan Alam.

Babbitt, who reportedly had been standing next to Alam, was shot.

In April, the Biden Department of Justice announced they had closed the investigation into the fatal shooting and would not be pursuing criminal charges against Byrd, citing “insufficient evidence to support a criminal prosecution.”

Just last week, the Capitol Police confirmed a report from NBC News that they had exonerated Byrd, a 28-year veteran of the force. They stated in a press release that Byrd – who they did not name – “will not be facing internal discipline” because in their view Byrd’s conduct “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.”

On the heels of the USCP exonerating Byrd, he did an interview with NBC News anchor Lester Holt, identifying himself publicly for the first time.

Instead of clearing things up, the interview only intensified the debate over his actions and whether they were justified. Here’s a key moment from their back and forth:

Video shot by a person in the crowd showed two officers posted in front of the door. Heavily outnumbered, they eventually stepped aside.

Byrd said he had no knowledge that any officers were there. Because of the furniture stacked on his side of the door, he also couldn’t make out how many people were on the other side or whether they were carrying weapons.

“It was impossible for me to see what was on the other side,” he said.

But he did see the person now known to be Babbitt start coming through the broken glass.

“I could not fully see her hands or what was in the backpack or what the intentions are,” Byrd said. “But they had shown violence leading up to that point.”

Byrd, who says he has been in hiding since that day and has faced death threats, told Holt it was the first time he’d ever fired his weapon.

Watch an edited version of the interview below:

The extended interview can be viewed here.

Georgetown University Law School Professor Jonathan Turley, who has long been a critic of official media narratives surrounding the shooting, said that instead of confirming that the respective decisions by the DOJ and the Capitol Police not to pursue action against Byrd were the right ones to make that Byrd “proceeded to demolish the two official reviews that cleared him” after he admitted he could not determine whether Babbitt was armed:

He expanded on his opinion in a piece published at The Hill:

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 flight.” Particularly with armed assailants, the standard governing “imminent harm” recognizes that these decisions must often be made in the most chaotic and brief encounters.

Under these standards, police officers should not shoot unarmed suspects or rioters without a clear threat to themselves or fellow officers.


Legal experts and the media have avoided the obvious implications of the two reviews in the Babbitt shooting. 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. 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 not have been required to see a weapon in order to use lethal force in defending buildings.

I’m not a legal analyst, but I think Turley makes some good points here.

— Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym “Sister Toldjah” and can be reached via Twitter. —


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The Packetman | August 29, 2021 at 6:38 pm

Can’t wait to hear Andrew Branca’s thoughts …

A law enforcement officer kills a Trump-supporter, ostensibly without a factual/lawful basis for using deadly force. The Dhimmi-crats and their media shills couldn’t care less, because the narrative doesn’t suit their aims. To them, this was a righteous kill; one less conservative “insurrectionist” in American society to worry about.

    Ben Kent in reply to guyjones. | August 29, 2021 at 9:17 pm


    FIRST = Black Victim – White Officers – Deadly Force Present
    . . Riots over Breonna Taylor – shot after her boyfriend ACTUALLY SHOT AT POLICE.
    . .>> Officers were cleared because they encountered ACTUAL DEADLY FORCE.
    . . Despite the facts – mobs rioted foe weeks and demanded the officers be tried and fired.
    . . A Grand Jury declined to prosecute – but 3 officers involved were FIRED ANYWAY.

    NEXT – Change the races of the Officer and Victim
    . . Black Officer – White Victim – NO DEADLY FORCE PRESENT
    . . BYRD Shot BABBITT when there was NO DEADLY FORCE.
    . .>> Byrd has neither been indicted nor FIRED

    These two cases have similarities in that an innocent victim was killed by police.
    But in one case, the police encountered deadly force – in the other they did not.
    >> The white officers who shot after encountering deadly force are FIRED
    >> The black officer who sot without encountering deadly force KEEPS HIS JOB..

    One might conclude that to the left — WHITE LIVES DON’T MATTER

    I have an idea – let’s all get t-shirts that say … WLM and then riot and burn shit down in “peaceful protests” – then maybe justice will go back to being blind.

      Sisu in reply to Ben Kent. | August 30, 2021 at 1:50 pm

      I suspect Byrd does not identify as black; more likely as from his (or his antecedents’) country of origin. And, so he is a “proud (whatever)”; who does not see “whites” as his equal and certainly not “women”. Combine that with the prestige of being a Capitol Police Lt. – Heck when politicians need protection who do they listen to ?

      The sad thing: there is neither a white nor black homogeneous group. And, as such every time we allow ourselves to categorize others or others and the government to categorize us as one or the other (or Chinese, Arab, Indian, Native American, Hispanic, European, etc.) we are perpetuating the division. There are either imperfect “good” people or incorrigibly “bad” people.

      I don’t know where Byrd comes from, he may have been born here (I recall reading he is an immigrant), but he is not an American. He presents as another example of all that is wrong with “affirmative action” and “quotas”. … When he left his “weapon” in the men’s room stall – he should have been fired for cause and suffered a lifetime “firearms defect”.

      Now he should be in jail; as Prof Turley states and the actions of the federal government in destroying material evidence including desecrating Babbitt’s body confirm – Byrd murdered Babbitt because he saw himself as superior – laws and standards applicable to LEOs do not apply to his actions.

      My money says he’ll become head of security for some demonrat, and kill again in the future.

        DaveGinOly in reply to Sisu. | August 31, 2021 at 2:02 pm

        “My money says he’ll become head of security for some demonrat, and kill again in the future.”

        Unless his weapon is in the bathroom when he needs it.

      tbonesays in reply to Ben Kent. | August 30, 2021 at 5:37 pm

      Didn’t the ‘Hands up don’t shoot’ guy actually have his hands on the officer’s weapon?

Any way you can review this I still see a fat 50ish black man execute a mid 30’s, 115 lb, unarmed woman that had other cops within 5 feet of her.

    gonzotx in reply to Tsquared. | August 29, 2021 at 7:02 pm

    A White Female Veteran

    He’s a murderer. Pelosi’s executioner, really.

      The Friendly Grizzly in reply to | August 29, 2021 at 8:41 pm

      He’s also a quota-hire.


          Dathurtz in reply to thetaqjr. | August 30, 2021 at 7:30 am

          Well, he’s plainly an incompetent nincompoop without the temperament for his job. Combine that with the common practice of hiring “minorities” despite a total lack of qualification, and oto seems reasonable to guess that the guy is a diversity hire.

          lichau in reply to thetaqjr. | August 30, 2021 at 10:32 am

          rebuttable presumption.

          Massinsanity in reply to thetaqjr. | August 30, 2021 at 12:32 pm

          He left his loaded service revolver in the bathroom for one. Regarding the quota hire comment this is an assumption many people will make moving forward given the left’s obsession with dividing and counting. While it may not be applicable in his case because he has been on the force for 26 years, moving forward any time I encounter a minority doctor or dentist or lawyer or engineer I will have reservations because of the left’s drive to eliminate standards in these professions because, you know, math is racist, MCATs, LSATs, bar exams, medical boards, etc are all racist.

          thetaqjr in reply to thetaqjr. | September 1, 2021 at 7:52 am

          Is the downvote number a record for simply asking “Why?”?

          Maybe I can overtop myself with “What is the evidence for the assertion that he was a quota hire?”?

          thetaqjr in reply to thetaqjr. | September 1, 2021 at 8:04 am


          How does the fact That “ math is racist, MCATs, LSATs, bar exams, medical boards, etc are all racist.” is false prove that that officer is a quota hire?

          thetaqjr in reply to thetaqjr. | September 1, 2021 at 8:56 am


          “ defendant in a criminal case is presumed innocent until proven guilty” I believed was bedrock. And not only in a court of law, it seems to be a good principal in general.

          The black man is not automatically a quota hire based on his being black.

          Although, from the waist-up photo, without proof to the contrary, his is a big ass sob.

    Char Char Binks in reply to Tsquared. | August 29, 2021 at 11:19 pm

    Is obesity an aggravating factor?

LibraryGryffon | August 29, 2021 at 6:48 pm

It also bugs me that no one seems concerned that he shot her when he, per his own statements here, couldn’t see what was behind or beside her. Aren’t you supposed to know what you might hit if you miss the target and take that into consideration before shooting? Based on the footage I saw, it looked like he wouldn’t have had to be too far off his aim to take out a fellow officer.

    The Friendly Grizzly in reply to LibraryGryffon. | August 29, 2021 at 6:56 pm

    Many law enforcement departments have incredibly poor training.

    Ben Kent in reply to LibraryGryffon. | August 29, 2021 at 9:20 pm

    You’re right. It was equivalent to shooting into a crowd. He could not tell who was next to her. There could have been kids there.

    This reeks of first deciding the outcome – exoneration – facts be damned.

    DaveGinOly in reply to LibraryGryffon. | August 31, 2021 at 2:10 pm

    An armed citizen got the drop on an active shooter in a mall in Oregon some years ago. The citizen didn’t shoot because his backstop wasn’t clear. The shooter saw the armed citizen, lost heart, went into a stairwell, and killed himself.

    The point is that even the “responsible gun owner” knows this rule. How is it that a (presumably) trained LEO does not?

would rather him explain what was going thru HIS mind in the moment–he could not see her hands–believe he panicked (perhaps my own naivete as believe police officers as a rule don’t deliberately kill unarmed protesters)–but shootings happen in an instant, literally–he may have thought ” this is it ” and reacted–we know she was unarmed, did not pose a physical threat given their size disparity–would like to know what HE was thinking, but then he’d have to admit to being afraid, being panicked and out of control

    fishingfool55 in reply to texansamurai. | August 29, 2021 at 10:05 pm

    I read that there were 5-6 other officers with him. None of the perceived a threat and opened fire.

      Note: This is a somewhat negative indicator of his claim to see the unarmed woman as a threat, because in conditions where a shooting occurs with multiple officers on the scene, and there *is* a threat posed by the victim, the first shot frequently results in other officers firing also. (there have been far too many of these) The other officer reactions seem to vary between “What was that” and “Dude! What did you just do!”

    DaveGinOly in reply to texansamurai. | August 31, 2021 at 2:13 pm

    In video (or possibly a still, I’ve only seen a still, but believe it was from video), Byrd is seen approaching the door from a distance farther away than the other officers. His sidearm is already in his hand and his finger is on the trigger as he approaches. The only other officer whose grip on his gun can be seen does not have his trigger in the trigger guard. Byrd approached that scene recklessly, at best, and already having made the decision to shoot, at worst.

I have always understood that two key things have to occur: you need to be able to articulate what transpired as well as have the facts support what you said. Branca goes into much more detail, and being a lawyer and all – take his advice well above anything I say! Nothing I have have read or seen via video indicates this was a good shoot. I stand fully to be corrected. I think there is more video we have not seen. I think if there was damning video, we would have been buried in it. No other shoot in recent past, has the lack of transparency as this shoot.

Veteran officer of black aborts single, unarmed female…cis-female… feminine female… female-female veteran of white in a prone position. A novel case of self-defense. A precedent for expanded self-defense rites. Diversity [dogma] may have been a motive.

Subotai Bahadur | August 29, 2021 at 7:55 pm

The sole purpose of the two official reviews was to establish precedent for the forces of the State to kill any that oppose them.

Subotai Bahadur

Capitol Police..licensed to kill. Affirmative Action in action. A reminder…. these “police” are a law unto themselves. Being anywhere right of Lenin makes this ground a dangerous place.

    DaveGinOly in reply to alaskabob. | August 31, 2021 at 2:20 pm

    “right of Lenin”

    Haha! That’s how Nazis became “right wing”; Stalin labeled anyone to his right “right-wing”. It was a lie the other allies were wiling to go along with because it helped distance Stalin (communist) from Hitler (national socialist), making Stalin more acceptable as an ally than if they were recognized and a kissing cousins. To this day, people believe the lie, including many who should know better.

If Babbitt had been black of either sex and Byrd were white, Byrd would be looking at significant prison time. He is a worthless POS, would love to see his history on social media though I expect it has been scrubbed.

This is a guy who is so dumb he left his loaded pistol in a public restroom. He walked around the house of representatives before he shot Ashley Babbitt with his finger on the trigger there are pictures and these statements to Lester Holt show he doesn’t know the law he’s an affirmative action higher and he is dangerous

Turley’s analysis was excellent. Should it be open season on the unarmed not presenting imminent danger?

    Not only that, he knows nothing about muzzle control. He had his finger on the trigger and crossed his direction of fire across several people standing near him. He apparently did this multiple times.

      The Friendly Grizzly in reply to gitmo. | August 30, 2021 at 7:52 am

      Not really on-topic, but just recently, I saw a movie where the good guys (the poh-leese) had horrible trigger discipline, and the “civilians” helping out all had proper discipline, and were careful where they aimed their firearms.

        I read of an encounter between a cop and an armed citizen in which the cop asked to hold the citizen’s firearm during their interchange. The citizen handed the gun to the cop. The cop then proceeded to “clear” the weapon by racking the slide and dropping the magazine. The citizen tried to tell the cop the weapon wasn’t clear, but the cop wouldn’t have any of it.

What if his assignment was to kill a person regardless of who? Would we then have a “violent” riot? And, that would set a lot of narrative and suppression in motion, right? The The Reichstag Fire was very useful.

Capitol Police Lt. Michael Byrd made incriminating statements because, in his psychopathic mind, he did nothing wrong. He had to think on the fly as to what “right” looks like (psychopaths are acting when they appear to be good people). He was doing his job by carrying out his assignment. He is a tool. We should be looking at the evil people behind the curtain and that includes the scum who “cleared” this animal.

    TX-rifraph in reply to TX-rifraph. | August 30, 2021 at 7:14 am

    Byrd was basically “forced” into being a hero to save the lives of other people. So, Babbitt was responsible for her own death: “I could not fully see her hands or what was in the backpack or what the intentions are,” Byrd said. “But they had shown violence leading up to that point.”
    And we are responsible for not knowing who this POS was: “Byrd, who says he has been in hiding since that day and has faced death threats…”

    See how he is justified? Byrd is a psychopath. While he should be in prison with others like him, the real danger is the people who are protecting him as they are protecting other assassins just like him. Byrd is a common evil. His handlers are a larger danger, and nobody seems to be looking at them.

      The Friendly Grizzly in reply to TX-rifraph. | August 30, 2021 at 7:57 am

      Good morning, tx.

      “While he should be in prison with others like him, the real danger is the people who are protecting him as they are protecting other assassins just like him.

      Yes. Some call it the blue wall of silence. In my view, a lot of this circling of the wagons comes from the police viewing us as “civilians”. We are “not them”.

      We not-police are viewed with suspiciaon; we must be guilty of something. With so many laws on the books these days, we likely ARE.

If this was justified, then Portland police could have saved themselves a lot of time and the taxpayers $$millions by just standing inside the federal building and shooting any rioter who entered the building. No “de-escalation” required, no less lethal force required. I listened to the Byrd interview. He said he didn’t even know if he shot a woman or a man. He didn’t see any weapon, just shot.

Byrd was always a worthless piece of shit. Now he’s a dead man. He’s admitted to murder. I hope someone finds him and avenges Ashli!

    TX-rifraph in reply to cjccam. | August 30, 2021 at 7:27 am

    The people are the Country. The government has transmogrified from a servant of the people into an evil master, a risk considered by the founders. How does an act of “street justice” on Byrd fix the core problem that gives us an “army” of Byrds?

      The Friendly Grizzly in reply to TX-rifraph. | August 30, 2021 at 8:01 am

      Byrd alone will not stop it. Taking out a few like him sends a message. Not necessarily killing them.

      Example: we had a local cop hanging around the local high school when it let out each afternoon. This was in the St. John’s district of Portland OR. Seems the young man was playing on his uniform to get favors from some of the female students. Complaints to the PPD went nowhere. His being lured to an abandoned house, then getting the stuffing beat out of him by the football team cured him of that. I hear his dental work was expensive, and broken ribs take a while to heal.

        Somewhere along the line the majority seems to have decided violence against authority is so horrible it is never justified. The most they will ever defend themselves or their loved ones is with a useless complaint.

      DaveGinOly in reply to TX-rifraph. | August 31, 2021 at 2:29 pm

      There was once a famous Scottish climber who allegedly killed with his ice axe a climber from a rival climbing club. His ice axe had a name: The Message.

Good article, Stacey. Thank you.

Professor, everyone by now understands that if anything comes from lying thieving democrats then it is false. Unless they are the deplorable imbeciles of the democrat party.

Enjoy your life Mr. Byrd, Karma shall come calling some day, hopefully soon.

A white police officer who did this act with this rationale to kill a black civilian would have been torched by this same overnment.


don’t really care about the colors in all of this–if she HAD been armed, then would have to reluctantly give this guy a pass–but she wasn’t and even he admitted that he couldn’t determine if she was–tragic, to say the least–but he fucked up(whether due to panic or deliberately makes no difference)and she’s dead–he’s not man enough to admit it(or terrified of the consequences if he does) but she’s dead as a result of his poor judgment–agree with others here that is negligent homicide at the least

hope her family prevails in their action as they deserve something for the loss of their loved one

Being a member of Law Enforcement I can say that Michael Byrd is a murderer. The use of force in that case follows no justified use of force law in the United States of America. He should be arrested and charged for his crime but unfortunately the Federal Government always covers up for murders and atrocities committed by it’s law enforcement people. Lon Horuchi’s murder at Ruby Ridge, shooting an unarmed woman holding a baby in her arms, The massacre committed in Waco Texas, killing numerous women and Children in which David Chipman the BATFe nominee was heavily involved in and who I believe committed perjury in his “testimony” and this POS Security Guard ( they protect the building and Grounds that’s it they are security guards, not Police Officers) Michael Byrd who shot and murdered a nonthreatening, unarmed woman at the U.S. Capitol. Byrd may not pay for his murder in this life but hell awaits him in the afterlife. He should be fired, tried and imprisoned for life. If he had any honor at all he’d resign in disgrace or end things.

Few in law enforcement buy his explanation. He either panicked or accidently shot her and is now trying to cover his ass with the help of the politicians. The last thing they can do is admit he screwed up.

This was redruM !!!

Use of lethal force policy was not followed.

This Mall Cop, who was not in personal danger from Ms. Babbitt, instantly jumped in from DEFCON 5 to DEFCON1, and shot to kill !!!!!

If the establishment covers for this murderer, we need to take over from them and see justice done.

The assassination of Mrs. Babbit is very similar to the assassination of Lavoy Finicum.

“Who is the greater threat to public peace and the rule of law? A rancher and his sons angry that the government is destroying his livelihood in part through political favoritism and vindictiveness? Or a government that acts as if might makes right, abuses its citizens, and uses maximum force when far less intrusion and risk would accomplish its lawful purposes?

These cases teach “a number of valuable lessons. We cannot presume the government’s virtue. Sometimes even wild tales are true. And every American — from the angriest antifa activist to the leader of “Y’all Qaeda” — is entitled to the full protection of the United States Constitution.”

— David French is a senior writer for National Review,

It was hard to believe this guy was telling the truth. The shooting of Ashli Babbitt was one of most unnecessary and unjustified things I’ve seen. His colleagues who were didn’t right behind Ashli made no moves to stop her. They were lucky half-cocked Lt. Byrd didn’t shoot them as well. The final score — lives saved that day: 0, lives taken that day: 1. Byrd should be hiding his head in shames, not preening before the TV cameras and a media idiot like Lester Holt.

Antifundamentalist | August 31, 2021 at 8:47 am

So now there is a precedent. Next time a Republican nominee is appointed to the Supreme Court, or any other prominent position for that matter, any protester/rioter who breaks through a locked or barricaded door in a Federal building can be shot when they enter. Seems fair enough to me.

Turley: “…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.”

The fact that Byrd shot and no other officer anywhere that day fired any shots demonstrates that Byrd’s judgment was at odds with the judgment of every other officer at the Capitol. (There were also other armed officers at that very door, with weapons drawn, who did not shoot.) A reasonable person might consider that strong evidence that Byrd’s judgment is suspect and he was wrong to fire his weapon.