U.S. Capitol Police Lt. Michael Byrd was never formally interviewed by the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department before being cleared of wrongdoing in the fatal shooting of Ashli Babbitt during the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, according to a report from Real Clear Investigations.
In an interview with the outlet, Babbitt family attorney Terry Roberts said he was surprised at how "skimpy" Byrd's investigative file is.
"He didn’t provide any statement to [criminal] investigators, and they didn’t push him to make a statement," Roberts also said.
Roberts' claims appear to be backed up by MPD documents obtained by Judicial Watch, which confirm that Byrd "declined to provide a statement."
An MPD spokesperson confirmed that Byrd did not cooperate with internal affairs or FBI agents.
“MPD did not formally interview Lt. Byrd. ... He didn’t give a statement while under the U.S. Attorney’s Office investigation," said D.C. MPD communications Director Kristen Metzger said.
Roberts shot Babbitt, who served in the U.S. Air Force, in the neck-shoulder area as she tried to climb through the broken window of a barricaded door to the Speaker's Lobby, near the House Chamber.
Within four months of the shooting, Byrd had been cleared of any criminal wrongdoing by the Justice Department, which opted not to present evidence to a grand jury about one of the most high-profile police shootings in recent memory. Justice declared there was "not enough evidence" to conclude that Byrd violated Babbitt's civil rights or acted recklessly.
Roberts said Byrd did not have to invoke his Fifth Amendment right to remain silent. He was able to remain silent with apparently minimal pushback from authorities – no threats of punishment for failing to cooperate with the investigation, and no administrative action taken to pressure him into compliance. Byrd was placed on paid administrative leave during the investigative process and returned to his same position, commander in charge of security for the House of Representatives.