Politics

Officer who shot pro-Trump rioter Ashli Babbitt to reveal identity in NBC News interview

Key Points
  • The police officer who fatally shot a woman participating in the pro-Trump invasion of the U.S. Capitol will reveal his identity for the first time in a televised interview scheduled to air Thursday.
  • The interview on NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. ET, is set to air three days after the U.S. Capitol Police Department announced that it would not discipline the officer.
  • The family of the woman, 35-year-old Air Force veteran Ashli Babbitt, has vowed to file a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against the police department and the officer who fired the gun.
This driver's license photo from the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA), provided to AP by the Calvert County Sheriff's Office, shows Ashli Babbitt.
Maryland MVA | Courtesy of the Calvert County Sheriff's Office via AP

The police officer who fatally shot Ashli Babbitt, who took part in the pro-Trump invasion of the U.S. Capitol, will reveal his identity for the first time in a televised interview set to air Thursday evening.

The interview on NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. ET, is set to air three days after the U.S. Capitol Police Department announced that it would not discipline the officer following an internal investigation of the Jan. 6 shooting.

The Department of Justice previously said it would not pursue criminal charges against the officer, whose identity has not been disclosed.

Babbitt, part of a mob of Trump supporters who stormed the Capitol, tried to climb through an opening in a broken glass door outside the Speaker's lobby, which leads to the House chamber, the DOJ's investigation found. The officer, who was inside the lobby, drew his service pistol and shot Babbitt once in the left shoulder, causing her to fall backward onto the floor. She was transported to Washington Hospital Center, where she died.

VIDEO8:1408:14
The Capitol siege: An hour-by-hour breakdown of how the day unfolded

Since her death, Babbitt has become a martyr on the far right. Online crowdfunding pages for her family have raised thousands of dollars. Former President Donald Trump earlier this month released a statement saying he spoke to Babbitt's mother and claimed she was "murdered at the hands of someone who should never have pulled the trigger of his gun."

The family of the 35-year-old Air Force veteran Babbitt has vowed to file a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against the police department and the officer who fired the gun. Babbitt's family is also currently suing to force Washington to hand over records revealing the identity of the officer who shot her.

The Capitol police said Monday that the officer and his family "have been the subject of numerous credible and specific threats."

Terrell Roberts, a lawyer for Babbitt's family, questioned that finding in light of the forthcoming interview.

"Did the Capitol Police's fear that by identifying the officer he would be exposed to grave danger just evaporate into thin air?" Roberts said in an email to CNBC.

The officer in the sit-down will "share his perspective on the events of that day, including the aftermath of the deadly insurrection and the threats he has received," NBC said in a press release. 

He will also discuss the USCP's conclusion that his actions in the Capitol during the riot were "lawful and within Department policy."

That policy says an officer can only use deadly force when he or she "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."

An earlier investigation was completed in April by the Metropolitan Police Department and the U.S. Attorney's Office in Washington.

It found that Babbitt, one of hundreds of rioters who broke into the Capitol on Jan. 6, was part of a crowd that stormed a hallway outside the Speaker's Lobby, which leads to the House chamber.

Members of that mob tried to break through the glass doors between the hallway and the lobby, which officers had barricaded with furniture, the DOJ investigation found.

Trump spread the false conspiracy theories of a rigged election that fueled some of his supporters to invade the Capitol. At a rally outside the White House on Jan. 6, Trump urged his followers to march to the Capitol and pressure Republicans to challenge key states' electoral votes for President Joe Biden.

The hundreds of Trump supporters who stormed the building on Jan. 6 forced a joint session of Congress to evacuate their chambers and hide from the mob, temporarily halting the confirmation of Biden's victory.

"They literally were there to 'Stop the Steal,'" said Capitol Police PFC Harry Dunn in a hearing last month before a select committee of lawmakers investigating the Capitol invasion.

That committee was formed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., after Senate Republicans rejected an effort to form an equally bipartisan, "9/11-style" commission on the attempted insurrection.

On Wednesday, the select committee issued expansive requests for records from numerous federal agencies, as well as the Trump White House, as part of their review.