Federal prosecutors said there was not enough evidence to support criminal prosecution against the officer, who has not been publicly identified.
“The investigation revealed no evidence to establish that, at the time the officer fired a single shot at Ms. Babbitt, the officer did not reasonably believe that it was necessary to do so in self-defence or in defence of the Members of Congress and others evacuating the House Chamber,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office for D.C. said in a statement.
Babbitt was part of the mob that stormed the Capitol based on then-U.S. president Donald Trump‘s false claims that the 2020 election had been stolen from him.
An officer fired a single shot into Babbitt’s shoulder as she tried to climb through a broken window at the head of the mob, video showed. The officer was on the other side of the locked door where members of Congress were taking shelter.
The video showed her falling back from the window with a wound to her head area, and she was rushed to hospital, where she later died.
Prosecutors said they reviewed the video of the shooting, along with physical evidence, autopsy results and statements from witnesses and officers at the scene.
“Based on that investigation, officials determined that there is insufficient evidence to support a criminal prosecution,” the department said in a statement.
Babbitt, 35, was an air force vet who appeared to have become radicalized by pro-Trump conspiracy theories, including QAnon, her social media history showed. She was one of many extremist Trump supporters who breached Capitol security, invaded the House and Senate chambers and effectively delayed certification of Joe Biden‘s election win on that day.
“Acknowledging the tragic loss of life and offering condolences to Ms. Babbitt’s family, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and U.S. Department of Justice have therefore closed the investigation into this matter,” the statement said.
Five people, including Babbitt and a Capitol police officer, died during the attempt to overturn the democratic election result.
The FBI has tracked down and charged well over 100 alleged rioters to date, thanks in part to the suspects’ own boastful social media posts.
The Justice Department does not bring criminal charges in most police shootings it investigates, in part because of the high burden for prosecution.
The officer in this case was not expected to face charges because videos showed Babbitt encroaching into a prohibited space, and second-guessing the actions of an officer during the violent and chaotic day would have been a challenge.
Trump was impeached in the House for inciting the attack with a speech beforehand. A majority of senators later voted to convict him, but the tally fell short of the two-thirds majority needed for a conviction.
— With files from The Associated Press
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