ASHLI Babbit's mom has claimed her daughter was "publicly executed' and had "no insurrection in her heart" on the first anniversary of her fatal shooting in the Capitol riot.
Micki Witthoeft exclusively told The Sun on Thursday that she believes Babbitt was a "proud patriot" who was killed while "exercising her first amendment right."
Witthoeft gathered outside Capitol buildings with friends and held a picture of her daughter as she claimed that the cop who shot Babbitt should be "held accountable."
Babbit, 35, was among the hundreds of people who swarmed the Capitol on January 6 in an attempt to prevent Joe Biden from being certified as president.
She was the only person killed during the chaos.
Three others died of medical emergencies during the rush.
Capitol police officer Brian Sicknick also died the following day after he was assaulted by two men.
A medical examiner said he died of natural causes, however.
Most read in The Sun
New evidence about chief Maddie suspect leaves investigators 'shocked'
Adele's destroyed God knows how many dream trips by fans, says Piers Morgan
Tributes to mum killed by ex as driver who run over knifeman praised as hero
Coleen Nolan's new man seen for first time on TV as fans say the same thing
Since her daughter's death last year, Witthoeft has said she wants answers and the family announced it would sue the Capitol police for $10million in damages.
It came after police chiefs said the cop who shot Babbitt, who they would not identify, would not face prosecution.
Lieutenant Michael Leroy Byrd, 53, came forward in an interview last August and named himself as the officer involved.
"I love and miss my daughter. This country needs to stand up for my daughter," Witthoeft said.
"Michael Byrd needs to be held accountable."
Wearing American flag sunglasses, Witthoeft prayed as she stood with her daughter's picture on Thursday.
"Jan 6 Patriots. God has his hands on you. Don't lose faith," the group said.
"There's so much wrong in our country … Lord, please just show us the way."
"Ashli was a proud patriot,"Witthoeft told The Sun.
"She was exercising her first amendment right and was publicly executed for it. There was no insurrection in my daughter's heart or in the hearts of anyone there that day."
'EVERYONE HAS A RIGHT'
She added that her daughter was killed for the right to free speech when asked about criticism Babbitt has received for her actions on January 6.
The First Amendment protects the right to free speech in the US, however, a threat of violence is not protected under this law.
The US Supreme Court said that threats of violence are exempt from the First Amendment as it protects "individuals from the fear of violence, from the disruption that fear engenders, and from the possibility that the threatened violence will occur."
The group storming the Capitol that day was also trespassing on federal property.
"This is America," Witthoeft said.
"Everyone has a right to say what they want whether they agree with me or not. This is what my daughter believed and she was shot for that right."
Babbit was shot in the chest by Byrd as she attempted to climb through a broken window in a door within the Capitol building to get closer to lawmakers voting to certify Joe Biden's presidential win inside.
Video footage captured the sound of the gunshot and showed the woman crumpling to the floor from multiple angles.
After the shot was fired, a protester can be heard shouting "shots fired" as others ask the officers to "stop."
The officer was put on leave immediately after the riot as the Justice Department opened an investigation into the shooting.
Babbitt was an Air Force vet with 14 years in the service, during which she did four tours of duty.
She was a high-level security official throughout her time in service.
Ashli, who was married to Aaron Babbitt and lived in California, was vocal about her support for former president Trump on Twitter and documented her trip to DC.
The Trump supporter had filmed herself at the rally on the day she died and in the days up to the event, her social media showed references to the QAnon conspiracy theory.
Among the QAnon theories is that the election was stolen from Trump – which has proven to be a baseless claim.
Draped in a Trump flag, Babbitt went live on Facebook and boasted that she was part of the mob marching to the Capitol.
She claimed there were more than three million rioters marching alongside her in Washington DC.
The day before she died, Babbitt tweeted: "Nothing will stop us…. they can try and try and try but the storm is here and it is descending upon DC in less than 24 hours….dark to light."
Babbitt, who used the Twitter handle CommonAshSense, also retweeted — a few hours ahead of her and other Trump supporters storming the Capitol — a "MUST BE DONE LIST before Congress meets today."
Before her death, Babbitt had also been hit with a slew of legal issues including a restraining order filed against her.
It was reported that in 2016 she had “chased her husband's ex down a highway and rear-ended her car three times."
Babbitt was charged with reckless endangerment, malicious property damage and dangerous driving for the run-in with Celeste Norris.
Norris, a construction inspector for Maryland State Highway Administration, claimed Babbitt was “swerving from left to right on the roadway” trying to get around traffic to get closer to her grey Ford Escape by mounting the shoulder.
"She again drove to the shoulder of the roadway and it appeared she was attempting to cut me off.
“As I slowed down she drove back into the roadway and then struck the rear of my vehicle. I felt the impact of her striking my vehicle three times.”
Babbitt was acquitted of the first charge and found not guilty of the others.
Norris also took out a restraining order against Babbitt on the day of the collision in July 2016, asking for a second order just seven months later over claims Babbitt had harassed her with late-night calls, filed false police reports against her, and lied under oath in court.
Both were upheld.
CAPITOL COP COMES FORWARD
Her family has previously said that it has spoken to Trump about her death.
The former president had also publicly called on the cop involved to be named before Byrd himself came forward.
On August 26, 2021, the veteran US Capitol Police officer Byrd spoke publicly for the first time following the incident.
The Washington native had been in law enforcement for 28 years.
Byrd joined the Capitol Police in 1993 and has been regularly assigned to the Speaker's Lobby, the highly restricted waiting area behind the House chamber that Babbitt and others were attempting to breach
"I know that day I saved countless lives," Byrd said in an interview with NBC News.
"I know members of Congress, as well as my fellow officers and staff, were in jeopardy and in serious danger. And that's my job."
It came just three days after the U.S. Capitol Police Department announced they would not discipline him.
"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," Capitol Police said in a statement.
The Department of Justice also said it would not pursue criminal charges against the officer.
'I DID MY JOB'
"I tried to wait as long as I could," Byrd added in the NBC interview.
"I hoped and prayed no one tried to enter through those doors. But their failure to comply required me to take the appropriate action to save the lives of members of Congress and myself and my fellow officers."
When asked about the Republicans who've criticized him, Byrd responded, "I hope they understand I did my job."
Since the events of last January 6, many of those how stormed the buildings have been arrested and charged by the US attorney’s office.
Many of the hundreds of January 6 protesters who have been formally indicted are charged with trespassing, vandalism, or similar minor offenses.
On Thursday, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris addressed the nation about the January 6 events.
"To state the obvious, one year ago today, in this sacred place, democracy was attacked," his speech began.
"The will of the people was under assault. The Constitution, our constitution, faced the gravest of threats."
Trump offered a rebuttal to the speech in a statement shortly afterward.
"To watch Biden speaking is very hurtful to many people," it said.
"He acts like he's aggrieved, but we're the ones who were aggrieved and America is suffering because of it."
A House committee is currently investigating the attack.
We pay for your stories!
Do you have a story for The US Sun team?
Email us at [email protected] or call 212 416 4552.
Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TheSunUS and follow us from our main Twitter account at @TheSunUS
Source: Read Full Article