The mother of Ashli Babbitt—Micki Witthoeft—was detained near the U.S. Capitol on Friday afternoon and was charged with violating two Capitol traffic regulations.
The detainment took place during a demonstration on the second anniversary of the death of Babbitt and three other Americans on Jan. 6, 2021. Witthoeft, 58, said she was there to honor her daughter, who died two years ago after being shot by U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) Lt. Michael Byrd.
Witthoeft was arrested around 1:45 p.m. local time by officers from the U.S. Capitol Police and charged with having violated two traffic regulations (pdf)—§16.3.20 Obey An Order, and §16.3.40 Blocking And Obstructing Roadways, the USCP announced in a release.
“As is typical for this charge, Ms. Witthoeft was processed and released this afternoon after being given a citation to appear in court at a later date,” the USCP stated.
The USCP stated that the group “did not have a permit to demonstrate on Capitol Grounds.”
“Officers established a clear police line to prevent the group from moving further west on Independence Avenue, SW,” per the release. “The officers and officials told the group to get out of the road or the group would be arrested. The sidewalk was open.”
The USCP said that Witthoeft was “given multiple warnings to get out of the road,” but instead of doing so, she “refused to leave, turned around with her hands behind her back, and asked to be arrested.”
‘I Was There to Honor My Daughter’
Witthoeft told The Epoch Times that she and the group saw the Capitol grounds had been fenced off.
“They were letting people in but they would not let us in because we had flags, so I chose to walk down the street that was blocked off, with my flags,” she recounted.
“When we turned the corner, more of the sidewalk was blocked off and our option was to walk on the side fence, or to cross the street where we could not lay flowers. So I chose to walk along the road so I could lay flowers for the four people that died that day—my daughter being one of them.
“When I did not move out of the road, I was arrested and cuffed up by a really angry, aggressive Capitol Police officer, who left wounds on my arm from handcuffing me.”
Video posted to Twitter from News2Share producer Ford Fischer showed that Capitol Police Lt. Ryan Schauf was the officer who arrested Witthoeft.
VIDEO: Today while holding a second anniversary march for January 6 around the Capitol, Micki Witthoeft, the mother of Ashli Babbitt, was arrested by Capitol Police Lieutenant Ryan Schauf for refusing to move to the sidewalk.
— Ford Fischer (@FordFischer) January 6, 2023
The video showed that at the time, Witthoeft was holding a rose and was being told to move to the sidewalk. Another woman was with her and was holding a sign with Ashli Babbitt’s name on it. The woman was trying to talk to one of the officers, but the officer told them: “You’re not obeying traffic laws, you can move to the sidewalk or you’re being placed under arrest. … We’re not discussing it. Sidewalk, now, or you’re under arrest, it’s that simple.”
Following the officer’s remarks, Witthoeft was seen handing the rose she was holding to the woman. She then turned her back to the officers and held two hands behind her back, as though ready to be handcuffed.
When asked what she was thinking when she decided to be arrested instead of moving out of the road with the other demonstrators, Witthoeft replied: “I was there to honor my daughter, and they were trying to make that impossible by their barricades and their failure to admit us to the Capitol grounds—and they were admitting everybody around us.
“I just wanted to lay some flowers for my daughter, and for Rosanne, Kevin, and Benjamin.”
“God bless America,” she added. “Free the Jan. 6’ers.”
Four Americans died on Jan. 6, 2021, amid the mayhem that took place that day on Capitol grounds—Babbitt, Rosanne Boyland, Kevin Greeson, and Benjamin Phillips.
Babbitt’s death was ruled a homicide due to the actions of Byrd. The deaths of Greeson and Phillips were determined to be due to natural causes. The death of Boyland was ruled as an accident, but video unsealed in December 2021 showed that she was struck by a police officer prior as she lay unconscious near the Capitol building.
The joint session of Congress on Jan. 6, 2021, was temporarily interrupted when a sizable group of protesters entered the Capitol building and its surrounds. Outside were thousands of other mostly peaceful protesters who had gathered in Washington on the day to express concerns about election integrity.
As of late December, more than 900 individuals have been dealt charges by the Department of Justice, accusing them of having committed federal crimes on Jan. 6, 2021. More than 480 of them have pleaded guilty to one or more charges. Dozens of Americans continue to be held in prison without trial.