Jan. 6 participant Ashli Babbitt’s husband, conservative group file a wrongful death suit against U.S. government

A conservative activist group on Friday sued the U.S. government for $30 million over the alleged wrongful death of Ashli Babbitt who was shot and killed by law enforcement during the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Judicial Watch attorneys filed the complaint in federal court in California, on behalf of Babbitt’s estate and husband, Aaron Babbitt, for wrongful death and assault and battery. The suit claims U.S. Capitol Police Lt. Michael Byrd was negligent when he fired a single fatal shot that struck Babbitt, a supporter of Donald Trump who joined a mob that broke into the Capitol trying to halt the certification of his electoral loss, in the shoulder as she climbed through a door leading to the House chamber. Lawmakers were being evacuated from the House floor.

“The facts speak truth. Ashli was ambushed when she was shot by Lt. Byrd,” they wrote.

A photo of Ashli Babbitt is displayed at a vigil in Dover, Del., on Jan. 20, 2020.Adam Monacelli / USA Today Network

The lawsuit alleges that Babbitt, an Air Force veteran who was a decorated security forces controller, had traveled to Washington from her home in San Diego, Calif., to attend the Save America rally on Jan. 6, where Trump delivered a speech outside the White House.

“Ashli did not go to Washington as part of a group or for any unlawful or nefarious purpose,” they wrote, adding that Babbitt was unarmed and “posed no threat to the safety of anyone.”

The lawsuit accuses Byrd of violating a series of standards of care governing the safe use of a firearm, imminent threat assessment, and the use of force that led to Babbitt’s death.

Byrd, a longtime veteran of the Capitol Police, was not in uniform, did not identify himself as a police officer, and failed to provide Babbitt “any warnings or commands” before firing, the lawsuit states.

A Capitol Police spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday.

Byrd previously told NBC News in an interview that he believed he “saved countless lives” during the riot, adding that he yelled repeatedly for rioters to get back, but the mob pressed forward and Babbitt attempted to climb through one of the doors.

Babbitt’s death has become a martyrdom among Trump supporters, with some Republicans declaring her death a murder and Trump calling her a “great patriot.”

Byrd was cleared months after the riot following an internal agency investigation that concluded his actions aligned with department policy on the use of deadly force.