- The Washington Times - Friday, January 6, 2023

The mother of Ashli Babbitt, a protester who was killed during the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol, was arrested outside the building at a demonstration that marked the second anniversary of Babbitt’s death.

Video footage shows U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) detaining Micki Witthoeft, Babbitt’s mother, on Friday afternoon near the Capitol where a small group of demonstrators had gathered.

According to Capitol Police, Ms. Witthoeft’s group did not have a permit for their demonstration to be held on Capitol grounds.

Ms. Witthoeft, 58, was charged with failing to obey an order and blocking or obstructing roadways. She has been released and given a citation to appear in court at a later date.

“The officers and officials told the group to get out of the road or the group would be arrested,” the USCP said in a statement, adding that Ms. Witthoeft was “given multiple warnings to get out of the road.”

“Instead of getting out of the road, the woman refused to leave, turned around with her hands behind her back, and asked to be arrested,” according to the USCP.

In one video, police officers are seen directing bystanders holding signs to move to a nearby sidewalk or face arrest.

In another video, bystanders ask Ms. Witthoeft if there is anything she wanted to say while she was being handcuffed.

“Yeah,” she replied. “The Capitol Police suck a—.”

Babbitt, a 35-year-old Air Force veteran, was the sole protester to die during the Capitol riot when she was shot by Capitol Police Lt. Michael Byrd near the floor of the House.

Lt. Byrd, whose identity was not initially revealed after the shooting, was cleared of wrongdoing after an internal review found he had lawfully deployed his weapon.

An initial death report produced by the Washington Metropolitan Police Department on Jan. 6, 2021, and later obtained by the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch, listed Babbitt’s possible manner of death as a homicide (police-involved shooting).

Internal records unveiled in June by Judicial Watch show the Justice Department recommended that the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia “decline for criminal prosecution” for Babbitt’s shooting.

The Justice Department also noted in its recommendation memorandum that Lt. Byrd “did not create any police reports or documents relating to the incident, and did not provide an official statement regarding the use of force.”

Lt. Byrd later agreed to participate in a voluntary walk-through of the scene of the shooting on Jan. 29, 2021, with his lawyer.

On Friday, Judicial Watch released internal Air Force documents revealing that Lt. Byrd and his pet were housed at taxpayer expense at Joint Base Andrews outside of Washington from July 8, 2021, through January 28, 2022, in a “Distinguished Visitor Suite” typically reserved for high ranking officers.

Lt. Byrd’s lodging costs during the period ranged from $158 to $185 per night. 

• Joseph Clark can be reached at jclark@washingtontimes.com.

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