When U.S. Capitol Police Lt. Michael Byrd went on “NBC Nightly News” to tell his side of shooting and killing unarmed Jan. 6 rioter Ashli Babbitt, he made a point to note he’d been investigated by several agencies and exonerated for his actions that day.
“There’s an investigative process [and] I was cleared by the DOJ [Department of Justice], and FBI and [the D.C.] Metropolitan Police,” he told NBC News anchor Lester Holt in August, adding that the Capitol Police also cleared him of wrongdoing and decided not to discipline or demote him for the shooting.
Byrd then answered a series of questions by Holt about the shooting, but what he told the friendly journalist, he likely never told investigators. That’s because he refused to answer their questions, according to several sources and documents reviewed by RealClearInvestigations.
In 1995, Minneapolis saw a record-setting 97 homicides. Operating by the strict definition of a homicide as an event where one person intentionally kills another, there were 97 homicides in the city last year.
The final homicide of 2021 occurred just hours before the new year as a 15-year-old boy was gunned down in north Minneapolis. No arrests have been made. The shooters are believed to have fired from a vehicle.
Some homicides, like the killing of Winston Smith in June, were justified and non-criminal. Technicalities aside, most share a concern about the high number of murders in 2021.
The Republican Party of Minnesota has called on Hennepin County Sheriff Dave Hutchinson to resign after he drunkenly crashed his county-owned vehicle outside of Alexandria earlier this month.
“As Hennepin County faces serious challenges with violent crime, residents need a sheriff who is laser-focused on public safety. Sheriff Hutchinson should step down and focus on his health so residents can have a top law enforcement officer better able to focus on fighting crime,” the party said in a statement.
Hutchinson rolled his vehicle off the road while traveling home to Minneapolis from a sheriffs’ conference. After the accident, his urine revealed a blood alcohol content of .13 — nearly twice the legal limit of .08.
Most police departments — including Washington, D.C.’s Metropolitan Police — are required to release an officer’s name within days of a fatal shooting. Not the U.S. Capitol Police, which is controlled by Congress and answers only to Congress. It can keep the public in the dark about the identity and investigation of an officer involved in a shooting indefinitely.
Which is what happened with the Jan. 6 shooting of Ashli Babbitt, an unarmed protester in the U.S. Capitol riot who was fatally wounded by a plainclothes police lieutenant as she attempted to breach a set of doors inside the building.
For the past six months, as Congress has proposed legislation to reform police departments across the country, the Capitol Police has stiff-armed government watchdogs, journalists and even lawyers for Babbitt, who have sought the identity of the officer and additional details about the shooting. The USCP still refuses to release his name, in stark contrast to recent high-profile police shootings around the nation.
The true cost of the riots after the death of George Floyd in police custody is starting to pile up on taxpayers.
This fallout could leave the Minneapolis Police Department short-staffed.
Minneapolis city leaders have begun signing large workers’ compensation packages for dozens of departing police officers, Fox 9 reports.
Kansas Senate Majority Leader Gene Sullentrop led police on a drunken 10-minute highway chase in March that caused other cars to nearly collide, according to court documents.
When a patrol officer finally pulled the SUV over, Sullentrop, a Republican, underwent a blood test that eventually showed him at over twice the legal limit, according to a Shawnee County affidavit released Thursday. As they waited for the test’s results, he allegedly lashed out at police with threats and insults.
“All for going the wrong way,” Sullentrop told the officer who pulled him over, according to the affidavit. “Donut boy.”
A second former Minneapolis police officer charged in the death of George Floyd is out of jail after posting bail.