(Ken Silva, Headline USA) The U.S. Capitol Police officer who fatally shot Ashli Babbitt during the Jan. 6, 2021, protests was housed at taxpayer expense in an Air Force base’s “distinguished visitor suite,” according to documents released Friday by Judicial Watch.
The documents, which Judicial Watch obtained via a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, show that Capitol Police Lt. Michael Byrd and his pet stayed in a “Distinguished Visitor Suite” at the “Presidential Inn” from July 8, 2021, through January 28, 2022. Byrd revealed himself as Babbitt’s killer the month after his stay at the base began.
“These extraordinary revelations forced out by our FOIA lawsuit show Defense Department facilities were used to provide long-term housing for the Capitol Hill police officer who shot and killed Air Force veteran Ashli Babbitt,” Judicial Watch said of its discovery.
According to the records, the cost of Byrd’s lodging fluctuated from $161 in July 2021, to $158 for August 2021, to $184 for September 2021, to $185 for October 2021 and to $165 for November 2021.
The Air Force also billed Capitol Police with miscellaneous charges Byrd incurred during his stay, including “sundry items that were used in the room that were not paid for before the guest left.”
All told, Byrd’s six-month-plus stay at the Presidential Inn cost taxpayers at least $37,167, records indicate.
Neither the Air Force nor Capitol Police immediately responded to Headline USA email queries about why Byrd was housed at an Air Force base after fatally shooting an unarmed Air Force veteran.
Babbitt, a 14-year Air Force veteran, was shot and killed by Byrd while crawling through a window in the Capitol building during the Jan. 6 protests.
Byrd has claimed that he acted with “the utmost courage” and “saved countless lives.”
However, earlier records obtained by Judicial Watch found that other officers at the scene did not see a weapon in Babbitt’s hands prior to the shooting and that they did not hear Byrd issue any verbal commands prior to the shooting.
In one interview, an officer claimed that before the shooting he “didn’t see anything in her hands.”
Babbitt’s mother, Micki Witthoeft, was arrested Friday during a demonstration in memory of her daughter.
Ken Silva is a staff writer at Headline USA. Follow him at twitter.com/jd_cashless.