The policeman who shot Ashli ​​Babbitt spoke in hiding for months: “I saved countless lives.”


In the chaotic minutes before he shot and killed Ashli ​​Babbitt Between Parliament riots On January 6, Lieutenant Michael Bard turned his attention to the glass door leading to the lobby of the House of Representatives.

About 60-80 house members and staff were trapped inside, and it was Bird’s job to protect them.

As a riot Rampaged in the Capitol, Bird and several other police officers of the US Capitol Police have installed furniture walls outside the door.

“When we barricaded the door, we were basically trapped in where we were,” Bird said in an exclusive interview with NBC News’ Lester Holt, who spoke publicly for the first time since the riots. “There was no way to withdraw. There is no other way out.

“When they pass through the door, they enter the House of Representatives room and meet with the House of Representatives,” Bird added. Mr Bird allowed NBC News to use his name after authorities refused to publish his name.

Image: On January 6, 2021, supporters of President Donald Trump protest in the Capitol.  (Robert Schmidt / AFP-Getty Images File)

Image: On January 6, 2021, supporters of President Donald Trump protest in the Capitol. (Robert Schmidt / AFP-Getty Images File)

The connection between Bird and what was happening outside and inside the building was his police radio. For a few minutes it crackled with a cascade of warning messages.

The policeman’s cry went down. A scream from a colleague who was rioted by chemicals. Report that the policeman’s fingertips were blown away.

“It was literally broadcast wirelessly,” Bird said. “I said,’OK, this is getting serious.'”

Soon a horde of demonstrators arrived. Bird, a 28-year veteran of the Capitol Police, took a defensive stance by pulling a gun when the riot broke the glass door.

He said he repeatedly shouted for them to come back. But the mob kept moving forward, and then a mob tried to climb one of the doors.

What happened next Capture with video: Bird fired one shot and hit Babbitt’s shoulder.

Babbitt, 35, a veteran of the Air Force and an avid supporter of former President Donald Trump, has fallen to the ground. She later died of an injury.

Her death was the cry of a far-right rally that described Babbitt as a martyr.Trump himself declared she was killed, suggesting that a police officer who accidentally shot her shot her. Worked for the top Democrats..

For the black bird, the incident upset his life. He was hiding for months after being flooded with murderous threats and racist attacks that began when his name leaked to a right-wing website.

However, in an interview with Holt, Bird said there was no doubt that he had made the right decision in the light of the situation.

“I know I saved countless lives that day,” Bird said. “I know that not only the House of Representatives, but my fellow officers and staff were at risk and seriously at risk. And that’s my job.”

Bird said he didn’t know if the person who shot him had a weapon. It wasn’t until late that night that the mob was found to be an unarmed woman.

Asked why he triggered it, Bird said it was a “last resort.”

“I tried to wait as long as possible,” he told Holt. “I hoped and prayed that no one would try to enter through those doors, but because they did not obey, I was appropriate to save the lives of parliamentarians, myself, and my fellow officers. I had to take some action. “

Bird Ministry of Justice And that Parliament police.. Investigators examined videos, physical evidence from the scene, autopsy results, relevant police officers, and statements from other police officers and witnesses when the Justice Department announced a decision not to prosecute him in April. Stated.

“Investigation reveals evidence that when police officers fired a single bullet at Ms. Babbitt, they did not reasonably believe that they needed to do so for self-defense or the defense of the House of Representatives. No, others have evacuated the House of Representatives, “a federal prosecutor said in a statement.

“The chanting has grown”

The day before January 6th was a business as usual for Bird from Washington. He and other parliamentary police officers gathered to consider a security plan to prove Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential election.

“I didn’t get the specific information that needed to change or adjust my posture,” he said. “At that point, I felt like the everyday events I’ve had in my 28-year career.”

Bird said there was one complex factor. Few police officers were under his command, mainly due to Covid-19-related absenteeism.

Images of the violent clash were broadcast live on television as hundreds of Trump supporters moved to the Capitol, upset by the outcome of the election. However, the bird placed outside the house room could not be seen. He relied on police radio.

Protests by Joint Session to confirm the outcome of the presidential election (Victor J. Blue / Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Protests by Joint Session to confirm the outcome of the presidential election (Victor J. Blue / Bloomberg via Getty Images)

When Bird began listening to police reports, he was unaware of the extent of their injuries. At one point, Mr Bird said a more disturbing message had arrived over the radio. The report of the shooting was false that he knew long after.

Bird said he rushed into the room after hearing a radio chatter warning that the riot had broke through the building and instructed house members to hide under their chairs and stay away from doors and windows. rice field.

He said a pipe bomb was found near the building and told them that the mob was using weapons against the officers. Bird said he needed to collect gas masks.

And he gave another important instruction: he told Congressmen to take steps to disguise who they were in case they faced a riot.

“The requirement was to tell the members to unpin and blend in,” Bird says. “To take off your jacket and make it look like a staff member as much as possible.”

As Bird rushed out of the room, he saw the House minister take the position he left on the podium. The pastor began reciting prayers with members of parliament.

“I think it was then that the members began to believe that serious harm and injury could occur,” Bird said.

Bird said he quickly built a makeshift barricade with all the furniture he and other police officers found.

“At that point, I realized they were here,” Bird said, referring to the riots. “The chant has grown. I couldn’t understand what they were saying, but it sounded like hundreds of people outside the door.”

In a video shot by a person in the crowd, two police officers were placed in front of the door. They were so numerous that they eventually set aside.

Bird said he didn’t know the officer was there. The furniture was piled up next to the door, so I didn’t know how many people were on the other side or if they had weapons.

“It was impossible to know what was on the other side,” he said.

But he saw a man now known as Babbitt begin to pass through broken glass.

“I couldn’t completely see what her hands, the contents of the backpack, and what the intent was,” Bird said. “But they were showing violence up to that point.”

This was the first time Bird had shot a weapon for the first time in 28 years. For the next few minutes, he helped house members evacuate the building. He said he understood the full story of the Capitol riots until late that night when he had the opportunity to watch television coverage.

Babbitt lawyer Described the case as “ambush” It claims that police officers did not issue a warning before pulling the trigger.Babbitt’s family has indicated their intention to submit Civil lawsuit To the Capitol Police; it had previously filed court documents seeking the name of the police officer who shot her.

Attorney Terry Roberts did not respond to a request for comment.

Bird said he felt pain in his throat for a few days after protesters slammed the glass door and shouted to stop and retreat.

Bird also ridiculed some claims that he had a political agenda.

“I work for Republicans, Democrats, white, black, red, blue, green,” he said. “I don’t care about your affiliation.”

He said he escorted him many times through the Capitol when Trump was president. “If he is in the Capitol and I am responsible for him, I will do the same for him and his family,” Bird said.

Since January 6th, Bird’s name has been leaked to right-wing media and online forums. Then there was a threat.

“They talked about killing me and cutting off my head,” Bird said, adding that there was also a racist attack.

“It’s all disappointing because I know I’m doing my job.”

According to him, the most difficult part was the impact on his family. Tears slipped from Bird’s eyes and dripping on his right cheek, lamenting how the life he had built upside down.

“Sometimes you can do nothing but cry,” Bird said, his voice became heavier. “You felt like you did your job. You helped protect the legislative leaders of this country, fought for democracy and continued to establish them.”

Bird’s past incidents have also received new attention online. In 2019, he put a service weapon in the bathroom and another officer finally discovered it.

In an interview with NBC News, Bird described the incident as a “terrible mistake.”

“I owned it. I was punished for it. I went ahead,” he said.

Mr Bird said he would like to speak to counter misrepresentations of the day’s actions after staying silent for seven months during the protracted investigation.

“That’s scary,” Bird said. “Again, I think I showed my utmost courage on January 6th. Now it’s time to do it.”

He knew that there were people who opposed his actions that day, and they always said they might.

“I hope they understand that I did my job,” Bird said. “Parliamentarians faced imminent threats and dangers. I just want them to tell the truth.”

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