Capitol Police officer says he was 'afraid' during January protests
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Former US President Donald Trump has been sued by seven US Capitol Police officers who claim he conspired with far-right extremist groups to provoke the deadly January 6 attack on the Congress. It comes as police officer Lt. Michael Byrd, who fatally shot Ashli Babbitt during riots, spoke to Lester Holt from NBC Nightly News about his actions that day. The officers alleged the attack was the culmination of months of rhetoric from President Trump, who they say knew of the potential for violence and actively encouraged it in hopes of halting the certification of President Joe Biden’s election victory.
Savannah Guthrie reported on Today Show: “This morning, some of the Capitol police officers who came under attack on January 6 are now taking legal action.”
Anchor Craig Melvin continued: “Seven officers filed a lawsuit on Thursday against former President Trump, his allies.
Co-anchor Hoda Kotb went on: “The terrifying moments that unfolded nearly eight months ago scarred many officers who were there.
“Now a lieutenant, not part of that lawsuit, who fired a fatal shot at one of the protesters is revealing himself and sharing his story for the very first time.”
In his first interview since his identity was disclosed, Lt. Michael Byrd said: “I was afraid and I am afraid now.
“I am afraid because I know they have people that disagree with my actions on January 6th, but I hope they understand.
“I did my job. And there was imminent threat and danger to the members of Congress.”
Lt Byrd continued: “I tried to wait as long as I could.
“I hoped and prayed no one tried to enter through those doors.
“But their failure to comply required me to take the appropriate action to save the lives of members of Congress and myself and my fellow officers.”
The Capitol Police officer described the shooting as an act of “last resort” as he spoke publicly three days after a review by the Capitol Police found he had acted lawfully and within department policy in shooting the supporter of then-President Trump as she tried to force her way through a smashed window into the House of Representatives’ Speaker’s Lobby.
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The shooting of Ashli Babbitt, 35, came on a day of violence that saw hundreds of Trump supporters fight their way into the Capitol, attacking police and sending lawmakers running.
Ms Babbitt was a US Air Force veteran who embraced far-right conspiracy theories on social media, including Trump’s false assertions that his 2020 presidential election loss was due to fraud.
Far-right groups have embraced Babbitt as a martyr, arguing she was murdered. Her cause has also been taken up by Trump, who falsely claimed last month that the officer who shot her was the “head of security” for a “high-ranking” Democratic member of Congress.
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