Some 232 days after fatally shooting San Diego’s Ashli Babbitt, the U.S. Capitol police officer who pulled the trigger Jan. 6 will reveal his identity in an interview with NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt, it was announced Wednesday.
The interview is set to air at 6:30 p.m. ET Thursday — three days after the the police agency announced it would not discipline the officer following an internal investigation.
Officials said in a news release it determined the officer’s conduct was “lawful and within department policy,” adding: “The actions of the officer in this case potentially saved members and staff from serious injury and possible death from a large crowd of rioters.”
Babbitt, 35, was an Air Force veteran from Ocean Beach who embraced far-right conspiracy theories on social media, including Trump’s false assertions that his 2020 presidential election loss was due to fraud.
Video footage from the siege showed that Babbitt being shot while climbing through the busted-out window of a door to the Speaker’s Lobby.
Capitol police, explaining why the officer’s name remained closely held, said Monday that the officer and his family “have been the subject of numerous credible and specific threats.”
On Twitter, an account called Justice For Ashli Babbitt (with 28,000 followers) said Babbitt family lawyer Terrell Roberts is “asking what we all are thinking: Did the Capitol Police’s fear that by identifying the officer he would be exposed to grave danger just evaporate into thin air?”
Babbitt’s family previously filed a lawsuit seeking records identifying the officer. Roberts also previously indicated he would be filing a wrongful death and excessive force lawsuit in connection with the shooting.
Roberts didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
On a crowdfunding site that aims to raise $500,000 for legal expenses, Roberts wrote: We have filed a lawsuit against District of Columbia on behalf of Ashli’s husband, Aaron Babbitt, to obtain investigative records including the name of the police officer that killed Ashli and surveillance video from inside the Capitol. Additionally, we have done extensive investigation in preparation for lawsuits that will be filed against U.S. Capitol Police and the police officer that took Ashli’s life.”
He said legal expenses “stand to be significant” and made an appeal: “Your contribution will be used to offset expenses related to engaging professionals and other consultants with expertise in use of force, police procedure, security and computer forensic analysis, medical professionals, and other legal and technological specialties.”
As of 5 p.m. Wednesday, the givesendgo.com site had raised $76,135.
CNBC noted that since her death, “Babbitt has become a martyr on the far right. … Former President Donald Trump earlier this month released a statement saying he spoke to Babbitt’s mother and claimed she was “murdered at the hands of someone who should never have pulled the trigger of his gun.’”
More than 570 people face criminal charges related to the attack, which resulted in at least five deaths and temporarily sent lawmakers into hiding as they sought to formalize Joe Biden’s presidential victory.
Additional portions of the Holt interview will air on MNSBC and the “Today” show.
On the crowdfunding site, Roberts said: “At 5′ 2″ tall and 115 pounds, Ashli could have been stopped by a single trained officer. The officer who decided to shoot her was not alone: there were over a half-dozen police officers on Ashli’s side of the door and several more on his side. In short, the use of deadly force served no legitimate law enforcement purpose, and violated her clearly established constitutional right against the use of excessive force.”