When U.S. Capitol Police Lt. Michael Byrd went on “NBC Nightly News” to tell his side of shooting and killing unarmed Jan. 6 rioter Ashli Babbitt, he made a point to note he’d been investigated by several agencies and exonerated for his actions that day.
“There’s an investigative process [and] I was cleared by the DOJ [Department of Justice], and FBI and [the D.C.] Metropolitan Police,” he told NBC News anchor Lester Holt in August, adding that the Capitol Police also cleared him of wrongdoing and decided not to discipline or demote him for the shooting.
Byrd then answered a series of questions by Holt about the shooting, but what he told the friendly journalist, he likely never told investigators. That’s because he refused to answer their questions, according to several sources and documents reviewed by RealClearInvestigations.
The U.S. Capitol Police said Monday that it would not take any action against the officer who shot and killed rioter Ashli Babbitt on Jan 6.
“USCP’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) determined the officer’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,” the department said in a statement. The officer’s identity was not disclosed due to safety concerns.
“This officer and the officer’s family have been the subject of numerous credible and specific threats for actions that were taken as part of the job of all our officers: defending the Congress, Members, staff and the democratic process,” the department said.
Most police departments — including Washington, D.C.’s Metropolitan Police — are required to release an officer’s name within days of a fatal shooting. Not the U.S. Capitol Police, which is controlled by Congress and answers only to Congress. It can keep the public in the dark about the identity and investigation of an officer involved in a shooting indefinitely.
Which is what happened with the Jan. 6 shooting of Ashli Babbitt, an unarmed protester in the U.S. Capitol riot who was fatally wounded by a plainclothes police lieutenant as she attempted to breach a set of doors inside the building.
For the past six months, as Congress has proposed legislation to reform police departments across the country, the Capitol Police has stiff-armed government watchdogs, journalists and even lawyers for Babbitt, who have sought the identity of the officer and additional details about the shooting. The USCP still refuses to release his name, in stark contrast to recent high-profile police shootings around the nation.
A psychiatrist from New York City went on a racist rant back in April in which she expressed her desire to kill White people simply because they are White, as heard in recently-revealed audio of the lecture, the New York Post reports.
The comments were made by Dr. Aruna Khilanani during a lecture to the Yale School of Medicine on April 6th. She said that she dreams of “unloading a revolver into the head of any White person that got in my way,” and that if she did so, she would leave the scene of the crime “with a bounce in my step.” She added that White people “make [her] blood boil,” and also believes that White people “are out of their minds and have been for a long time.”
The lecture was titled “The Psychopathic Problem of the White Mind.” During the speech, Khilanani talked about “learning objectives” such as “[setting] up White people’s absence of empathy towards black rage as a problem,” and also claiming that “White people are psychologically dependent on black rage.” These details, along with the full audio of the lecture, were posted online via Substack on Friday, by former New York Times editor Bari Weiss.
Calls to defund the police have once again been thrust into the national spotlight after a string of high profile police shootings, but data show the rallying cry for police reformers may not hold water.
After the death of Daunte Wright at the hands of police in Minnesota, U.S. Rep. Rashida Talib, D-Mich., made headlines this week for posting on Twitter: “No more policing, incarceration, and militarization. It can’t be reformed.”
Later in the week, Senate lawmakers blasted President Joe Biden’s Justice Department Civil Rights Division nominee Kristen Clarke after reports that she wrote an op-ed calling for defunding the police. Clarke pushed back, arguing that was not the point of her writing.