It has come out in a recent federal lawsuit that U.S. Capitol Police Lt. Michael Byrd, who shot unarmed Trump supporter Ashli Babbitt, issued a false radio report alleging that bullets were fired at him in the Speaker’s Lobby and that he was “prepared to fire back.”
The previously unknown radio message is also recorded on an audio tape acquired exclusively by The Epoch Times of Capitol Police’s “OPS2” dispatch channel on that day.
Ms. Babbitt’s widower, Aaron Babbitt of San Diego, filed a federal lawsuit on Jan. 5 seeking information about the tape. Mr. Babbitt is suing the federal government for $30 million in wrongful death damages, with Judicial Watch supporting him.
According to the complaint, Lt. Byrd shot his Glock 22.40 caliber handgun, injuring Ms. Babbitt in the left shoulder, and then declared that he was being fired on and was ready to respond.
“In fact, no shots were fired at Lt. Byrd or his fellow officers,” the lawsuit states. “The only shot fired was the single shot Lt. Byrd fired at Ashli. He heard the loud noise of the gunshot. He saw her fall backward from the window frame.”
A police dispatcher had incorrectly stated, a few minutes before the incident, “They’re taking shots into the House floor.”
“Lt. Byrd erroneously believed and acted on a false radio call and/or false report of shots fired on the House floor occurring before he left the House floor and moved across the Speaker’s Lobby to the adjacent Retiring Room,” the suit states.
“A reasonably prudent officer in Lt. Byrd’s position would have been aware that, in fact, the report was false and the sound heard on the House floor was glass breaking, not shots fired.”
It is unclear why Lt. Byrd said that he was receiving fire and was ready to fire back. According to the lawsuit, his radio dispatch happened up to a minute after he shot Ms. Babbitt.
“The facts speak truth. Ashli was ambushed when she was shot by Lt. Byrd,” the lawsuit states. “Multiple witnesses at the scene yelled, ‘You just murdered her.’”
“Lt. Byrd was never charged or otherwise punished or disciplined for Ashli’s homicide,” the lawsuit adds.
Lt. Byrd’s remarkable dispatch call, obtained by the Epoch Times, can be heard below:
Here is a transcript of that call:
: “Shots fired, House floor. Shots fired, House floor. Immediate assistance.”
: “Shots fired, House floor. Shots fired, House floor.”
: “I need units to re…”
That message was cut off on the OPS2 channel but was heard in full on the OPS1 channel:
“I need units to respond to the chamber, the House chamber floor,” the dispatcher said.
“Again, units need to respond to the House floor in reference to shots fired. They were shots fired at the House floor. Again, units to respond. They’re taking shots into the House floor. We need units to respond to that location. 1443 hours.”
: “405-B. We got shots fired in the lobby. We got fot (sic), shots fired in the lobby of the House chamber. Shots are being fired at us, and we’re prepared to fire back at them. We have guns drawn. [Unintelligible.] Don’t leave that end! Don’t leave that end!”
Lt. Byrd’s dispatch was followed by 11 seconds of radio silence.
: “Simulcasting, shots fired on the House floor again.”
: “We’ve got an injured person. I believe that person was shot. It was …” (cut off by another transmission).
: “Shot, one down, civilian. We need EMTs. We need. … Come through on the west side of the building … to the House lobby.”
: “That’d be House…”
: “405-B, did you copy?”
: “I copied. House lobby, west side. Individual …”
Lt. Byrd fled from the Speaker’s Lobby’s entrance to the seating area. Officer Mike Brown, a member of the USCP Containment and Emergency Response Team, said that Lt. Byrd was “down and out and almost in tears.”
The discovery of Lt. Byrd’s previously unknown radio call raises new concerns about the killing of Ms. Babbitt, 35, and the inquiry that cleared him of possible charges of excessive use of force.
The transcript of the OPS2 radio communications provided by the Department of Justice (DOJ) as evidence in the Jan. 6 criminal cases doesn’t include the words “we’re prepared to fire back at them.” The DOJ transcript instead says, “And it went, so we locked it down.”
Thus, whoever made the misleading edits to the Department of Justice transcript, and whoever signed off on them, knowingly committed a fraud upon the court.
There are other errors in the official account of events leading up to Ashli Babbitt’s death.
Ms. Babbitt did not hit the glass or cause any damage during her stay in the corridor, according to video evidence. The video shows that Babbitt actually interfered with agitator Zachary Alam’s attempts to break the glass and finally slapped him in the nose after he busted out a side window.
Tayler Hansen, who obtained footage of the shooting incident, explained a number of issues with the official account about Ashli Babbitt and the alleged “threat” she posed to police.
Was Ashli Babbitt “murdered”?
Here are some fascinating things the mainstream media didn’t tell you about the Trump supporter’s deathpic.twitter.com/0PoPFebNLK
— Kyle Becker (@kylenabecker) January 6, 2024
Despite obvious video evidence from the hallway, Ms. Babbitt was labeled by the DOJ as “an active participant in a ‘mob’ that had just illegally entered the Capitol building.”
The non-official account appears to get worse for the Capitol Police. The Epoch Times story recounts the medical effort to aid Babbitt after her shooting.
First-aid efforts by Mr. Gandolph and a member of the USCP SWAT team were described in the DOJ report. The document fails to mention that Dr. Austin Harris, a California cardiothoracic anesthesiologist who was in the crowd, knelt down with his medical bag, checked for a pulse, and began assessing Ms. Babbitt’s wounds.
After four minutes of rendering aid to Ms. Babbitt, Dr. Harris was grabbed by a USCP bicycle officer, pulled from his kneeling position, and wrestled away from his dying patient. The officer shoved Dr. Harris down the hall and forced him to leave the area.
A short time earlier, Young Kim—a videographer with medic training who was assisting Dr. Harris—was forced by police to stop his rescue efforts and abandon the scene.
On Jan. 25, 2023, Dr. Harris was arrested by the FBI and charged with four misdemeanors for being in the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Mr. Kim was briefly on the FBI’s Jan. 6 most-wanted list but was later removed without explanation in April 2021.
In an NBC interview in August 2021, Lt. Byrd defended his actions regarding the Ashli Babbitt shooting.
“I know that day I saved countless lives,” Byrd said. “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.”
Byrd also claimed that at the moment he shot and killed Babbitt, “she was posing a threat to the United States House of Representatives.”
However, in January a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of Babbitt’s family argues to the contrary. It is being litigated by conservative legal watchdog Judicial Watch.
Lt. Byrd, who is a USCP commander and was the incident commander for the House on January 6, 2021, shot Ashli as she raised herself up into the opening of the right door sidelight.… Not one member of Congress was in the lobby, which was guarded by multiple armed police officers. Additional armed police officers were in the hallway outside the lobby and/or on the adjoining stairway. Ashli could not have seen Lt. Byrd, who was positioned far to Ashli’s left and on the opposite side of the doors, near an opening to the Retiring Room, a distance of approximately 15 feet and an angle of approximately 160 degrees. Sgt. Timothy Lively, one of the armed officers guarding the lobby doors from the hallway, later told officials investigating the shooting, “I saw him . . . there was no way that woman would’ve seen that.” Lt. Byrd, who was not in uniform, did not identify himself as a police officer or otherwise make his presence known to Ashli. Lt. Byrd did not give Ashli any warnings or commands before shooting her dead.
Ashli remained conscious for minutes or longer after being shot by Lt. Byrd. Ashli experienced extreme pain, suffering, mental anguish, and intense fear before slipping into pre-terminal unconsciousness. The autopsy report identified the cause of death as a “gunshot wound to left anterior shoulder” with an onset interval of “minutes.” The fact that Ashli was alive and conscious in extreme pain and suffering is documented in videos of the shooting. Furthermore, nothing about the wound track described in the autopsy report would be expected to result in immediate death or instantaneous loss of consciousness, and Ashli’s lungs contained blood, further confirming that she was alive and breathing after being shot. Ashli was pronounced dead at Washington Hospital Center at 3:15 p.m. The medical examiner determined that the manner of death was homicide.
“Homicide” is a technical term in medical nomenclature, and does not necessarily indicate guilt on the part of a person who many have caused a death. (For example, a shooting may have been in self-defense and still be labeled a “homicide.”)
However, there are previous incidents in Byrd’s police record that indicate a track record of recklessness.
Less than two years before January 6, 2021, on or about February 25, 2019, Lt. Byrd left his loaded Glock 22 – the same firearm he used to shoot and kill Ashli Babbitt – in a bathroom in the Capitol Visitor Center (CVC) complex. Lt. Byrd’s loaded Glock was discovered during a routine security sweep later the same day. Approximately 15,00 to 20,000 people pass through the CVC, which serves as the main entrance for visitors to the U.S. Capitol, daily during peak season (March-July). Lawmakers and staff charged with oversight of the USCP were not made aware of the incident until contacted by a reporter.
Lt. Byrd’s police powers had been revoked on more than one occasion prior to January 6, 2021, for failing to meet or complete semiannual firearms qualification requirements. In fact, Lt. Byrd had a reputation among peers for not being a good shot. Under USCP’s range management system, an officer who fails to meet firearm qualification requirements is given one week of remedial training. If the officer still fails to qualify after remedial training, police powers are then revoked until the officer qualifies.
Lt. Byrd’s police powers also were revoked for a prior off-duty shooting into a stolen, moving vehicle in which the occupants were teenagers or juveniles. The stolen vehicle was Lt. Byrd’s car. Lt. Byrd fired multiple shots at the fleeing vehicle in a suburban area. Stray bullets from Lt. Byrd’s firearm struck the sides of homes nearby. An official investigation found that Lt. Byrd’s use of force was not justified.
In 2019, Byrd had been the subject of a repeat offense of leaving a police firearm unattended in a Capitol bathroom. After the House adjourned, Lt. Mike Byrd left his Glock 22 in a bathroom in the Capitol Visitor Center complex, according to sources familiar with the incident. Byrd was the commander of the House Chambers section of the Capitol Police and was on the job.
In August, it was discovered that not only was Byrd uncharged over the shooting incident, but he was being promoted to captain. Roll Call uncovered Michael Byrd’s promotion, citing an internal document showing that he was one of 30 Capitol Police officers being promoted.
Michael Byrd’s promotion neither squares with his police record of reckless behavior, nor does it fit with making a false police radio call after a fatal shooting incident involving an unarmed civilian.