(PART 2 of a 4 Part Report)
Of the thousands of protesters on January 6, 2021 only one person was shot to death on this infamous day of “Insurrection.”
Air Force veteran Ashli Babbitt was the picture of enthusiasm as she walked from the White House to the Capitol as shown in this screenshot from the self-video she took during the walk. Her outrage at the inexcusable damage caused by some of her fellow protesters, an inability to remain passive and an act of apparent desperation to escape a violent retaliatory act — caused her to move directly into the sights of a U.S. Capitol Police Lieutenant who without hesitation fired a 40-caliber round into her upper chest.
As this report will make clear, it wasn’t enough that Babbitt was shot and killed. Her reputation and legacy had to be destroyed as well. In order to justify the shooting, she had to be portrayed as just another violent insurrectionist who got what she deserved.
As we saw in Part 1, Ashli Babbitt was the first protester to arrive at the eastern doorway to the Speakers Lobby of the House of Representatives being trailed by videographer Tayler Hansen. The events leading up to the shooting at the doorway lasted no more than a few minutes. Part 2 focuses on Babbitt’s actions during the last 90 seconds of her life and shows that she was not the destructive protester the Capitol Police and the U.S. Department of Justice made her out to be.
[Each photo in this article is a (sometimes blurry) screenshot from one of the publicly available videos (mostly from Hansen and John Sullivan, a.k.a., Jayden X).]
Photo #8. Arriving at the doorway just moments after Babbitt was the large group of protesters. The size of the group was estimated between “more than 10 people” as stated by USCP Officer Reggie Tyson (p. 53) who witnessed the shooting, to “fifteen to twenty” according to Officer Christopher Lanciano (p. 119) and 80 to 90 as estimated by Sergeant Timothy Lively and Officer Kyle Yetter (p. 93). Perhaps 40 – 50 could fit in that area but not many more. Of those, about 5 or 6 appeared to be quite violent as they struck the doors and destroyed the windowpanes.
Easily the most violent protester in this group was Zachary Alam, 30, indicted on January 25, 2021. His inexcusable actions set the stage for Babbitt’s eventual death.
Almost immediately after he arrived at the doorway, Alam began punching the windowpanes in an attempt to break through the doors and barricade. Alam considered the officers “guarding” the doorway irrelevant given their passivity. In Photo #8 he can be seen actually leaning against Officer Yetter as he punches and breaks one of the door’s windowpanes.
Alam didn’t care which of the officers he was leaning into. Here in Photo #9 Alam has moved to the next windowpane he intended to destroy — this one between Sergeant Lively and Officer Lanciano.
Keep in mind that in his interview, Sgt. Paul McKenna, along with of course Lt. Michael Byrd, one of the three USCP officers behind pillars in the Speakers Lobby, said he took his position behind the pillar “when I saw the glass starting to break on the door…” “…they came right up to the door and just started smashing. I mean they had guys in the front that I saw the window to the door crack. And then when I saw the (sic), they started smashing that side window.”
As we can see in the photos, three uniformed USCP officers were clearly visible standing in front of the doors. Why were McKenna, Tyson and Byrd hiding behind pillars in the Lobby while their fellow officers believed they were alone to bear the brunt of this violence? For whatever reason, none of these three were ever asked this question by Internal Affairs. Sgt. McKenna did, however, volunteer “I’m not afraid to say I was, I was scared shit.” (p. 44)
Believing they stood alone facing overwhelming odds none of the three uniformed officers issued verbal warnings and only Officer Lanciano attempted to (briefly) physically restrain Alam as he used a helmet to destroy the door’s windowpanes. When he was finally interviewed on Feb. 10, 2021 (8 pages of his interview by the F.B.I. were redacted), Lanciano (p. 116) said he was trying to calm the protesters down; telling them that the House members had already exited the Chamber so there was no point in entering the Lobby.
Photo #10. As Zachary Alam shouted, “fuck the blue” right in the officers faces and continued his violence, the continued passivity of the USCP officers infuriated Babbitt. It wasn’t any of the USCP officers who pushed Alam back away from the windows but the petite Babbitt herself. In Photo #10 she is seen pushing between Alam and Officer Lanciano. This is now less than 90 seconds before she is fatally shot.
Photo #11. Babbitt pushed Alam and stepped in front of him. Momentarily startled, Alam allowed Babbitt to take over believing she’d scream obscenities at the police officers herself. But from this point on she showed with her words and actions that she was not on Alam’s side.
A clearly frustrated Babbitt then turned toward the officers and, according to Hansen, screamed in their faces to “Get fucking help.”
“You could tell she was definitely getting upset,” Hansen said. “She was calm when she first got there. Then as the destruction continued and as more people started to fill in and it got more dangerous, that’s when you can tell she was getting really upset.”
In his interview Officer Lanciano said (p. 120) Babbitt stood out to him. He said she was saying the “same slogans over and over.” Well, she should have stood out to him. As seen in Photo #12, Babbitt now screamed at Lanciano that he was a “fraud” by wearing the uniform but not taking any action whatsoever.
A stunned Alam now realizes that Babbitt is not only not taunting the officers, she was actually trying to get them to stop him.
Officer Lanciano was later asked in his IAD interview if there was any type of one-on-one conversation with her or if she spoke directly to them at any point and he responded, “No, she didn’t.” This screenshot proves that statement was false.
During Officer Yetter’s interview by MPD IAD (7 pages of Yetter’s interview by the F.B.I. were redacted) he stated Babbitt was the second most noticeable person to him. He said because “she was very passionate about the, what she was doing… And, um, violent as well.” (p. 110)
What was clearly noticeable with many of the questions put to the officers was that they were quite “leading.” The questioners showed their true intent; not to elicit an unbiased, accurate account of what actually transpired, but to justify the shooting by making Babbitt appear as radical as possible.
The interview then asked Yetter while Babbitt was screaming was she “Threatening you in any way?” Yetter’s response: “No.”
The interviewer then asked, “Threatening the members of Congress in any way that you could hear? Yetter: “I can’t recall.” Then, “I’m sorry, no.” He later said she was animated.
When Zachary Alam realized that Babbitt completely opposed him, he became infuriated. In the next three screenshots (Photos #13, 14 and 15) he angrily pushes Babbitt back away from the officers while screaming in her face. She was shoved to the northern wall where Hansen said she continued to try to shout at the crowd to tone down the hysteria as it was fueling the violence at the doorway. Here is the actual video.
In Photo #16 from the F.B.I., House Members can still be seen leaving the Chamber. And a fired-up Alam now appeals to the crowd to get more active, literally trying to turn them into a violent mob.
Sergeant Lively said in his interview that he told the other officers that they needed to stay at the doorway until the Members got out the other side of the Speakers Lobby.
Sgt. Lively said that when he saw CERT (Containment and Emergency Response Team) officers coming up the stairs, given that it appeared all the House Members had exited the Chamber, he moved Officers Yetter and Lanciano over to the side (northern) wall as he prepared to change places with the well-armed tactical team. He did, however, admit to the interviewers that “the whole thing is just a daze to me. It’s a foggy memory.” (p. 64)
[It was indeed foggy. He stated that he came upon a Sergeant at Arms employee who wasn’t armed on his way to the Speakers Lobby doors and “grabbed him and threw him behind us.” It didn’t happen that way. The Hansen video shows he and Babbitt actually passed Jason Gandolph on their way to the doorway where Lively, Yetter and Lanciano were already waiting.]
Inexplicably, Sergeant Lively wasn’t interviewed until February 4, 2021 by MPD IAD and the FBI (p.66), nearly a month after the shooting (11 pages of Lively’s interview by the F.B.I. were redacted). A USCP attorney was also present for Lively’s interview. Why it took over four weeks for this key interview to take place is unknown. What is also unknown is why he chose to literally stand aside and turn the doorway over to the protesters and not remain just another 30 seconds until the CERT officers could have replaced them at the doorway.
In his interview, CERT Officer Robbs stated that his team did not go to the Lobby doorway to help secure it. They were there solely due to the erroneous radio reports of shots being fired within the Capitol. He said he never spoke with Sgt. Lively about taking over the protection of the Lobby doorway.
Officer Robbs said that as they were looking for one or more shooters and guns, his initial determination after scanning the group of protesters from the stairs was that there was no active shooter among them. Lt. Byrd chose to stay hidden and just assumed the destructive group posed a mortal threat. (p. 139)
As soon as the three uniformed officers moved away from the doors to the side wall, it was promptly interpreted by the most violent of the protesters to mean they now had unimpeded access to the Lobby. Immediately the violence picked up in intensity.
On one side of the doorway, Capitol police no longer considered entry into the Speakers Lobby worthy of standing their ground while on the other side three USCP officers stood ready to instantly use lethal force against any and all who came through the now destroyed windowpanes.
In Photo #18 CERT officers can be seen coming up the stairway now less than 20′ from Ashli Babbitt.
Photo #19 shows that the three uniformed USCP officers have moved away from the doorway to the northern wall. Zachary Alam now “armed” with a black helmet he got from another protester and several others began pounding on the doors and windows. Ashli Babbitt can be seen watching from along the wall.
Neither Sgt. McKenna nor Officer Tyson were asked how long they were positioned in the Speaker’s Lobby prior to the shooting. Nor were they asked if they observed any USCP officers visible on the other side of the doorway at any time while they were behind the pillars in the Speaker’s Lobby. It’s unfathomable how such vitally important questions could have been overlooked.
In Photo #20, with now less than 30 seconds before she is fatally shot, Ashli Babbitt screams at Alam and the others hellbent on destroying the doorway.
In this screenshot (Photo #21) the 5’2″ Babbitt has now had enough of the destruction and begins to move toward ringleader Alam. Notice that Officer Yetter, Sergeant Lively, Officer Lanciano and Mr. Gandolph are still standing and watching the destruction from the northern wall. Officer Yetter is only about three feet from the doorway’s sidelight where Babbitt will shortly try to crawl through.
Here is a graphic showing the location of the USCP officers just 20 seconds before Babbitt is shot.
Photo #22 is the same screenshot (as #21) from the video by John Sullivan (a.k.a. JaydenX) but with the focus (red line) on the direction Officer Yetter was looking.
When Officer Yetter was interviewed on February 4, 2021 (p.91), he stated they (he, Lively and Lanciano) didn’t leave the doorway until “I was under the assumption that the members and whoever had already exited the building at that point.”
Yetter was asked if he could hear any of the USCP officers stationed on the barricaded side of the doorway shouting warnings or saying anything. He responded that he could not. He was never asked if he could see any of the officers in the Speakers Lobby. His subsequent, abrupt movements strongly suggest that he did indeed see Lt. Byrd with his weapon pointed in Yetter’s direction.
In the video from which this screenshot (Photo #23) was captured Sergeant Lively, Officer Lanciano and Mr. Gandolph have not yet moved from their positions along the northern wall. But notice Officer Yetter has. In the attached video he can clearly be seen ducking into Sergeant Lively’s shoulder in an attempt to push him away from the doorway.
This screenshot (Photo #24) from another video was taken at the exact time as Photo #23 but from a different angle. It shows Babbitt has had enough of the violence of a handful of protesters along with the passive approach taken by police on the scene and moves toward Alam. This angle also shows two of the CERT officers have now reached the top of the stairway as shown on the above graphic.
At this point there are now seven armed USCP officers — including a tactical team — all within about 15 feet of the doorway. Combined with the three plainclothes Capitol police officers on the interior of the Lobby, this area with ten armed officers all within perhaps 40 feet of each other is likely one of the most heavily guarded areas in the entire Capitol. It is also just 18 seconds before an unarmed woman is fatally shot.
The video clearly shows that as Alam and two others are pounding on the windowpanes, Officer Yetter sees “something” in the exact direction of Lt. Byrd that causes him to quickly duck down and push into Sgt. Lively to move away from the area.
Yetter’s abrupt movement instinctively causes videographer John Sullivan (a.k.a. Jayden X) to immediately swing his camera around to see what caused it. The rapid camera movement blurs out Officer Yetter’s duck and push into Sgt. Lively as shown in Photo #25. The others along the wall — Officer Lanciano and Mr. Gandolph — remain in the exact same position. Clearly Officer Yetter saw something that caused him to move suddenly that the others did not.
The camera captures Lt. Byrd’s gun now pointing in Yetter’s direction as can be seen in Photo #26.) Yetter’s push into Lively is just a second or two before Sullivan can be heard yelling “gun” from his position in the southwest corner of the doorway, actually the poorest angle to see Byrd and his weapon.
It is almost inconceivable that Officer Yetter did not see Lt. Byrd with his gun drawn and pointed in his direction based on his line of sight and sudden reaction. Yet he was never asked.
The lack of communication among Capitol police officers within a few feet of each other on both sides of the eastern doorway to the Speakers Lobby is astonishing. Outside the doorway seven heavily armed USCP officers were exhibiting no urgency whatsoever to protect the Lobby. Inside the Lobby were three USCP plainclothes officers with weapons drawn ready to shoot to kill anyone to prevent entry. Quite the dichotomy.
In the last few seconds of her life Ashli Babbitt will make one last courageous attempt to stop the destruction. Her aggressive, final act against the destructive ringleader was completely ignored by the Department of Justice, FBI and the Metropolitan Police Department’s Internal Affairs investigators.
In Part 3 of this in-depth report, we’ll see the compelling evidence that this statement from the DOJ’s “Prosecution Declination Memorandum” is false.
“After a thorough review of the facts and circumstances in this case, there is insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Lieutenant Byrd violated Ms. McEntee’s (Babbitt’s) civil rights by willfully using more force than was reasonably necessary, or was not acting in self-defense or the defense of others.”
There is far more visual evidence that Babbitt not only wanted nothing to do with this mob, but took it upon herself to try to stop them both verbally and even as we’ll see — physically.