The U.S. Capitol Police announced last week that its internal probe of its officer’s fatal shooting of unarmed Air Force veteran Ashli Babbitt during the Jan. 6 riot was justifiable.
For more than seven months, the department has been able to hide the officer’s name – something no local police department could get away with if, say, Babbitt had been an unarmed black man killed by police.
But according to the conservative legal watchdog group Judicial Watch, that officer’s name is not all the department can keep from the public.
JW announced on Friday that the USCP was seeking to block access to video footage of the Capitol riot, citing “national security.”
JW had filed a lawsuit against the agency after it got no response to a public records request, made on Jan. 21, that sought, among other records, all video from inside the Capitol from noon to 9 p.m. on Jan. 6.
According to JW, the USCP argues it cannot release the tapes because its security camera system “is solely for national security and law enforcement purposes.”
Additionally, “access to video footage from the USCP’s camera security system is limited to narrow circumstances and strictly controlled by USCP policy,” and the department “has not made any public disclosures of video footage from January 6 from its camera security system.”
The agency further cited ongoing criminal and congressional investigations of the Jan. 6 mayhem as a reason for a judge to knock down JW’s plea.
But, the department added, even if records that JW seeks were public records, the USCP’s interests in keeping them confidential “outweigh any public interest in those materials,” the agency argued.
In response, Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement, “To cut to the chase, the US Capitol Police is hiding a reported 14,000 hours of January 6 video from the American people to help Nancy Pelosi’s abusive targeting of Trump supporters and other political opponents.”
“Any other police department in America would be investigated and defunded for such abusive secrecy. The Pelosi Congress is in cover-up mode regarding January 6.”
Meanwhile, JW notes that it is conducting its own “extensive” investigation of Jan. 6.
So far, it’s found that the Washington, D.C., Office of the Chief Medical Examiner requested to cremate Babbitt’s remains just two days after taking custody of her body and that Babbitt’s fingerprints were emailed to someone who reportedly worked for the DC government, which resulted in a reply Microsoft “undeliverable” message written in Chinese characters.
JW also notes that a lawsuit it filed in March also led to the release of the autopsy results of USCPolice Officer Brian Sicknick, who died of natural causes, and was not killed in connection to the riot.
JW also has sued to obtain records of communications between the FBI and several financial institutions about financial transactions made by people in DC, Maryland, and Virginia on Jan. 5-6. It’s also filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Postal Service for information related to its tracking of social media posts through its Internet Covert Operations Program (iCOP).
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