Facts Matter: Trump wrong about shooting during Jan. 6 riot

  • Smoke fills the walkway outside the U.S. Senate Chamber on Jan. 6 as insurrectionists loyal to President Donald Trump are confronted by U.S. Capitol Police officers.

    Smoke fills the walkway outside the U.S. Senate Chamber on Jan. 6 as insurrectionists loyal to President Donald Trump are confronted by U.S. Capitol Police officers. Associated Press

Posted7/11/2021 5:30 AM

Former President Donald Trump, during a recent news conference to announce his lawsuit against social media companies, claimed there was no justification for a fatal shooting during the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

"The person that shot Ashli Babbitt -- boom -- right through the head -- just boom -- there was no reason for that," he said. "And why isn't that person being opened up, and why isn't that being studied? They've already written it off. They said that case is closed."


Trump got the facts wrong, according to PolitiFact.com.

Babbitt, 35, was in the Speaker's Lobby with a mob of people trying to get through the door that leads directly to the floor of the House of Representatives.

A video, obtained by The Washington Post, shows an officer, who has not been identified, shoot Babbitt as she attempts to climb through a broken window leading to the House floor. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for Washington, D.C., ruled that Babbitt was struck in her front left shoulder, not her head.

The Justice Department did not prosecute the officer after determining the shooting was justified because the mob's advance was a risk to law enforcement and lawmakers.

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Several law enforcement experts agreed.

"There was clearly a risk of serious bodily harm to the officers and everyone they were protecting, justifying the use of deadly force in defense of self and others," Northeastern University criminologist Alan Fox told PolitiFact.

"The reason the officer fired at Ms. Babbitt was because a violent mob was taking over the Capitol and causing police to evacuate House and Senate members out of fear for their lives," Los Angeles Police Department Captain Greg Meyer told PolitiFact.

Vaccines protect against variant

Recent social media posts falsely claim the delta variant of the coronavirus is more likely to cause death to people who are fully vaccinated than to those who did not receive the vaccine.

In fact, the opposite is true.

Data published by Public Health England shows the Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccine to be highly effective against the delta variant, The Associated Press reported.


A chart posted on social media misrepresents this information. The chart shows that among more than 60,000 cases of the variant, 37 vaccinated people died while 34 unvaccinated people died. But the chart didn't include data on other illnesses and age. Older people were much more likely to be vaccinated.

"Unless you account for these differences in age and population, you really can't make the argument that vaccination confers a higher risk of death," University of Wisconsin infectious disease physician Dr. Nasia Safdar told the AP.

The public health agency, in a follow-up report, said no deaths have been reported for people under 50 infected with the variant who received the full vaccine.

Committee to hear from Capitol police

The House of Representatives on June 30 voted to create a committee to investigate the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol.

Almost immediately, there were lies about how Speaker Nancy Pelosi would conduct the hearings.

"Pelosi won't let Capitol police testify about what happened on Jan. 6. That tells you everything you need to know," a Facebook user wrote.

The speaker isn't blocking officers from testifying, according to PolitiFact.com.

On July 1, Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson, chairman of the committee, said the first hearing will include testimony from Capitol police officers.

Drew Hammill, deputy chief of staff for Pelosi, weighed in.

"This is completely false," he told PolitiFact.

Women's soccer team respected flag, veteran

The U.S. women's soccer team last week defeated the Mexico team 4-0 in its last game before heading to the Olympics.

Before the game, 98-year-old World War II veteran Pete DuPré performed "The Star-Spangled Banner" on his harmonica. Following the match, some social media users claimed the players disrespected DuPré during the national anthem.

"DISGRACEFUL: US women's soccer team members turned away as 98-year-old World War II vet played the national anthem," one post said while others claimed the women turned away from the flag.

Neither claim is true, according to Snopes.com. While some players were facing DuPré, many were actually facing the American flag during the anthem.

"We turned because we faced the flag," tweeted midfielder Cari Lloyd.

After the game, the team gave the veteran a signed soccer ball.

"No one turned their back on World War II Veteran Pete DuPré during tonight's anthem," the team's tweet read. "Some USWNT players were simply looking at the flag on a pole in one end of the stadium. The players all love Pete, thanked him individually after the game and signed a ball for him."

• Bob Oswald is a veteran Chicago-area journalist and former news editor of the Elgin Courier-News. Contact him at boboswald33@gmail.com.

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