Mother of slain Capitol rioter arrested on Jan 6 anniversary
The mother of Ashli Babbitt, a 35-year-old military veteran fatally shot by police as she stormed the halls of Congress on January 6, 2021, has been arrested during a demonstration to mark the second anniversary of her daughter’s death.
A small protest march in Washington, DC on Friday ended in the arrest of Micki Witthoeft, 58, who was slapped with traffic violations after refusing orders to get out of the street.
In footage of the encounter captured by journalist Ford Fischer, Witthoeft is seen attempting to cross a road near the Capitol before she is shoved by a police officer, who repeatedly tells her to return to the sidewalk. Declining to do so, the woman then turned around with her hands behind her back, apparently asking to be arrested. Following an exchange of words, she was then placed in the back of a squad car.
VIDEO: Today while holding a second anniversary march for January 6 around the Capitol, Micki Witthoeft, the mother of Ashli Babbitt, was arrested by Capitol Police Lieutenant Ryan Schauf for refusing to move to the sidewalk.Video by me @N2Sreportspic.twitter.com/e59iHpqCNx— Ford Fischer (@FordFischer) January 6, 2023
Police said the group did not have a permit to demonstrate on the Capitol grounds, though noted that Witthoeft was released later on Friday with a citation to appear in court, according to the Associated Press.
Witthoeft’s daughter was killed during the 2021 riot while attempting to breach a door leading to the Speaker’s Lobby in the Capitol building, shot dead by police despite the presence of officers directly behind her. The Capitol officer who killed Babbitt, Lieutenant Michael Byrd, was later cleared of all wrongdoing by both his department and the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, which found he fired in self-defense.
An Air Force veteran who served in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, Babbitt was an avid backer of former President Donald Trump, whose supporters stormed the Capitol in a doomed effort to stop the certification of the 2020 presidential election results. Trump repeatedly claimed the race was marred by extensive fraud in favor of then-Democratic nominee Joe Biden, but failed to convincingly prove widespread misconduct in court.
Babbitt’s family previously threatened to launch a $10 million wrongful death suit against Lieutenant Byrd and the Capitol Police, arguing the officer fired with no warning, while describing the shooting as “an ambush.” However, as of last June, a local press report noted that no lawsuit had yet been filed.
The Capitol riot resulted in a number of high-profile congressional hearings and a second impeachment attempt against then-President Trump, who was accused by Democrats of “inciting” the unrest. During a ceremony to commemorate the second anniversary of the incident on Friday, President Biden hailed the officers who protected the Capitol for “exemplary deeds of service for their country or their fellow citizens,” though at one point erroneously dated the riot to “July 6.”