(Republican Insider) – Back when U.S. Capitol Police Lt. Michael Bird conducted an interview on “NBC Nightly News” in order to share his side of what happened when he shot and killed Jan. 6 “rioter” Ashli Babbitt, who, by the way, was completely unarmed, he made it abundantly clear that he had been investigated by several agencies and was exonerated for the actions he took that day.
“There’s an investigative process [and] I was cleared by the DOJ [Department of Justice], and FBI and [the D.C.] Metropolitan Police,” he went on to tell NBC News anchor Lester Holt last August, going on to add that the Capitol Police have also cleared him of any wrongdoing and decided not to discipline or demote him for the actions he took that day.
According to WND, investigators actually cleared the police lieutenant of any wrongdoing in the death of Babbitt without conducting an interview with him about the shooting or threatening him with any sort of punishment if he refused to cooperate with their own criminal investigation.
“He didn’t provide any statement to [criminal] investigators and they didn’t push him to make a statement,” Babbitt family attorney Terry Roberts went on to say during an RCI interview. “It’s astonishing how skimpy his investigative file is.”
In an exclusive interview with @LesterHoltNBC, Capitol Police Lieutenant Michael Byrd describes why he’s choosing to identify himself. Byrd shares his account of the January 6 riot, as officers barricaded the door and he fired a single shot, killing Ashli Babbitt. pic.twitter.com/5E7KPtxNc2
— NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt (@NBCNightlyNews) August 26, 2021
Roberts, who spoke with the D.C. MPD detective who was assigned to the case, stated that the kid-glove treatment of Byrd is sufficient cause for folks to become suspicious about the investigation being “whitewash.”
“The lawyer’s account appears to be backed up by a January 2021 internal affairs report, which notes Byrd ‘declined to provide a statement,’ D.C. MPD documents show,” the report said.
“Asked about it, a D.C. MPD spokeswoman confirmed that Byrd did not cooperate with internal affairs agents or FBI agents, who jointly investigated what was one of the most high-profile officer-involved shooting cases in U.S. history,” the report continued.
“MPD did not formally interview Lt. Byrd,” deputy D.C. MPD communications director Kristen Metzger went on to say. And, “He didn’t give a statement while under the U.S. Attorney’s Office investigation.”
“After Byrd declined to cooperate with D.C MPD Internal Affairs Division’s investigation, which was led by Det. John Hendrick, his case eventually was turned over to the USCP for a final administrative review of whether or not his actions conformed with department policies and training,” WND’s report said.
However, USCP still concluded back in August that “the officer’s conduct was lawful and within department policy.” The agency launched an administrative investigation after the criminal investigation was officially closed.
In April of 2021, four months after the Capitol attack and the shooting that ended Babbitt’s life, Byrd was officially cleared of any wrongdoing in the incident by the Justice Department, which refused to impanel a grand jury in order to hear evidence in what is a departure from other lethal police shooting cases that involved unarmed citizens.
The DOJ ruled that there “was not enough evidence” to reach the conclusion that Byrd had violated Babbitt’s civil rights or willfully acted recklessly by shooting her.
As of this writing, Byrd is still the commander who is in charge of security for the House of Representatives.
“Neither the FBI nor the Justice Department would comment on whether they pressed Byrd after he insisted on remaining silent. The D.C. police force, which shares some jurisdiction with the Capitol Police, takes the lead in internal affairs probes like this one,” WND reported.
“Roberts questioned how investigators could find that Byrd acted in self-defense and properly followed his training procedures, including issuing warnings before shooting Babbitt, since he refused to talk about it while the investigation was open — and his statements, unlike those made to NBC, would have been taken under penalty of perjury. ‘How would they know if they never interviewed him?’ he said, adding that it’s not enough to say an officer did nothing wrong without showing how it reached such a finding,” WND continued.
“By avoiding an interrogation, he said Byrd avoided saying anything that could have been used to incriminate him, including making false statements to federal agents, which would be a felony. Remarkably, he did not formally invoke his Fifth Amendment right to remain silent, according to people familiar with his case, which makes the reluctance of authorities to lean on him or sanction him for not cooperating all the more puzzling. By law, federal agencies can use leverage short of termination, such as an unwelcome duty reassignment, to persuade employees to cooperate with investigators. Byrd was put on paid administrative leave during the investigative process,” the report added.
According to WND, Byrd waited to speak out about the shooting publicly until after the statements he made could no longer be used against him in a criminal investigation. The interview he conducted with NBC, which was heavily promoted as an “exclusive,” shared his side of the story with no opposing viewpoints.
“I believe I showed the utmost courage on Jan. 6,” Byrd stated.
By defending the actions he took against Babbitt in the interview with Holt, he was telling him things he would not tell investigators, which included his claim that he shot her as a “last resort” and that he only pulled the trigger after warning the veteran to stop.
“However, documents uncovered by Judicial Watch reveal that eyewitnesses — including three police officers at the scene — told investigators they did not hear Byrd give Babbitt any verbal warnings prior to firing, contradicting what Byrd told NBC,” the report stated.
“The Babbitt family has maintained that the rushed investigation amounted to a ‘coverup’ of misconduct by the officer. It says the federal probe was conducted under political pressure, arguing that Byrd was not put through the normal rigors of a police shooting investigation to avoid making a martyr of Babbitt, an avid Donald Trump supporter. An Air Force veteran from California, Babbitt died while wearing a Trump flag as a cape. The former president has demanded the Justice Department reinvestigate her death,” the report stated.
Rep. Troy Nehls from the state of Texas, who once served as a sheriff, stated that he believes Babbitt’s shooting should have gone before a federal grand jury.
This case was mishandled from the very beginning,” the Texas Republican said to the U.S. attorney who was in charge of the probe for the Justice Department in a recently penned letter.
In another letter that was addressed to the Capitol Police chief, Nehls said, “Many officers in the USCP I have spoken to believe the investigations of Lt. Boyd were dropped because of his position and other political considerations.”
ATTORNEY FOR ASHLI BABBITT'S FAMILY, TERRY ROBERTS RESPONSE TO THE US CAPITOL POLICE INTERNAL INVESTIGATION OF THE KILLING OF ASHLI BABBITT. pic.twitter.com/x3neLZ5pnF
— Justice For Ashli Babbitt (@ForAshli) August 23, 2021
EXCLUSIVE: Mother of Ashli Babbitt tells National File "My daughter died for this cause… I'm here to be my daughter's voice because it has been silenced" before Rep. Paul Gosar invited her out today. pic.twitter.com/lSMC5ChwCy
— National File (@NationalFile) July 24, 2021
Standing ovation for the mother of Ashli Babbitt here in Arizona pic.twitter.com/koETCwGNoa
— Jack Posobiec 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) July 24, 2021
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