FBI Investigated Woman For Potential Crimes After Jan. 6 Death

Following the death of a woman involved with the Jan. 6, 2021, protests at the Capitol building, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) launched a probe into the victim to determine if she was involved in federal crimes, according to recently revealed documents.

The conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch obtained files from the government agency that showed it had posthumously investigated Air Force veteran Ashli Babbitt after she died from a gunshot fired by a Capitol Police officer.

The details came from more than 60 redacted documents that the group obtained through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, which was part of a 2024 lawsuit against the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the FBI. Barely a week after Babbitt’s death, a posthumous investigation was launched into the deceased woman, seeking to determine if she had been involved in federal crimes.

According to the documents, the “potential violations of federal law” to be investigated included civil disorder, unlawful entry of a restricted building, riots and property injury. An interview with a source detailed that Babbitt was strong-willed but not inclined to physically pursue someone with whom she disagreed. The source also said that reports of her being involved with “white nationalists” were inaccurate.

Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, in a statement expressed shock that the FBI appeared to have provided the officer who fatally shot Babbitt “a free pass” pending the criminal investigation of the deceased woman.

In January 2024, Judicial Watch filed a $30 million wrongful death lawsuit against the federal government, a move which was conducted on behalf of Babbitt’s husband and estate. The case alleges that the government, specifically former Capitol Police lieutenant Michael Byrd, is guilty of wrongful death, battery and negligence.

In April 2021, the Washington, D.C., attorney’s office announced it would not criminally charge the officer who fatally shot Babbitt — who can be seen on video climbing into a window of the Capitol that had been broken by members of the crowd before she was shot. Just seconds before Byrd shot the unarmed woman, she was seen on camera trying to stop the man who broke the window. According to a press release, the decision not to criminally prosecute Byrd was made by the DA’s office and the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division.

These groups, along with the Metropolitan Police Department’s Internal Affairs Division (IAD), “conducted a thorough investigation” of the shooting in which they studied videos, statements from officers involved, witnesses to the incident, physical evidence from the scene and autopsy results. The release explained that, “based on that investigation,” there was “insufficient evidence to support a criminal prosecution.”