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Capitol Police Officer who shot Ashli ​​Babbitt breaks the silence

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Capitol Police Officer who shot Ashli ​​Babbitt breaks the silence

The policeman who shot and killed a rioter during the January 6 attack on the Capitol has now made his story public. Lieutenant Michael Byrd, who has been with the US Capitol Police for 28 years, spoke to Lester Holt of NBC News in an interview that aired Thursday. Byrd described the threats he received after the uprising that led him to hide his identity until now.

“They talked about killing me, cutting off my head, very vicious and cruel things,” he said. Byrd, who is Black, said he also received racial attacks.

“It’s all disheartening because I know I’ve done my job,” he said.

On January 6, officials barricaded the door at the entrance to the speakers’ lobby, located near the House of Representatives chamber, when rioters crowded outside and tried to get in. Video footage shows rioters beating the glass in the door until it broke. Byrd was one of the officers on the other side.

“I had screamed and screamed as loud as I was, ‘Please, stop, come back, come back,'” Byrd said.

When 35-year-old Ashli ​​Babbitt tried to break through the door by climbing through one of the windows in the door, Byrd fired a single shot that killed her. When asked by Holt what he thought Babbitt was doing right now, Byrd said, “She posed a threat to the United States House of Representatives.”

“I tried to wait as long as possible. I hoped and prayed that no one would try to enter through these doors. But their failure to comply required me to take the appropriate steps to save the lives of members of Congress and myself and my counterparts, ”he said.

The US Capitol Police investigated the incident and found that “the officer’s conduct was lawful and in line with Departmental guidelines”.

“The official’s actions in this case may have saved members and staff from serious injury and possible death from the large number of rioters who invaded the US Capitol and the House of Representatives, from which members and staff were steps away were “read a press release.

After her death, many right-wing extremists tried to portray Babbitt as a martyr, spreading conspiracy theories about the circumstances surrounding her death and Byrd’s motives for her murder. Even former President Donald Trump played into these conspiracies, something Byrd describes as “disheartening”.

“If he was in the room or anywhere and I am responsible for him, I was willing to do the same for him and his family,” said Byrd.

Other Capitol cops have come to terms with Trump and the role he played in the events of the 6th – the Oathkeepers and Proud Boys, who claim their actions ultimately caused the Capitol uprising.

“On January 6, 2021, plaintiffs and their law enforcement colleagues risked their lives to defend the Capitol from a mass violent assault – an attack provoked, supported and in an unlawful attempt to use violence, intimidation and threats by the defendants,” has joined them. “To prevent Congress from confirming the results of the 2020 presidential election,” the lawsuit said.

“Because of the defendants’ unlawful acts, plaintiffs were violently assaulted, spat at, sprayed with tear gas, sprayed with bears, racially insulted and verbally abused and put in fear for their lives,” the lawsuit continued. “The injuries suffered by the plaintiffs that caused the defendants persist to this day.”

Two other Capitol cops filed another lawsuit against Trump back in March, similarly claiming he was responsible for the actions of his Jan 6 supporters.

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