After months of supposed hiding, the Capitol Hill cop who shot unarmed pro-Trump protestor Ashli Babbitt at the Capitol, Lt. Michael Byrd has come out of the woodwork to talk about his shooting, in a softball interview with NBC’s Lester Holt.
Which is weird stuff, given that for months his identity had been concealed, by investigators, Congress, and other supposed watchdogs, on the grounds that revealing it to angry Trump supporters was too dangerous, and whose investigative conclusions excused him from accountability.
Now he’s come out — telling Lester Holt of his great heroics. He doesn’t even need to, having been exonerated repeatedly.
The most likely reason is this lawsuit, and these efforts by Babbitt’s family to get answers:
Babbitt’s family is suing for the identity of the officer to be publicly released but so far that effort has not borne fruit. They are also filing a $10 million wrongful death lawsuit, claiming the officer didn’t issue a verbal command according to the Washington Examiner.
A lawsuit would concentrate anyone’s mind, even in the name of his agency, making it quite likely that he would think of preparing a defense.
It’s a typical lawyer tactic, when it can be done and a judge doesn’t slap it down, to try to sway public opinion, particularly when a defense is weak
Holt, who’s no stranger to political water-carrying, would be the perfect such vehicle.
The problem here is that the effort has probably already backfired.
Byrd, who makes north of $100,000 a year as a Capitol Police lieutenant, comes off as a dumb goober, a flatfoot in any other police department, a classic Parkinson’s Peter Principle law case of a man promoted to his level of incompetence.
After all, he has a history of mishandling weapons as news media have pointed out, leaving his gun once in a bathroom. And as for shooting dead an unarmed protestor, which normal cops would shrink at, he certainly didn’t. Nor did he signal any human emotion or empathy as most cops would do upon making a miscalculation. Instead, he declared himself a hero and all but demanded applause.