We may understand [Capitol Hill Police Lieutenant Michael] Byrd’s fears and not know exactly what was in his mind at the moment he fired. But if police had applied to the 2020 Black Lives Matter riots the same standard that was applied to Byrd’s shooting of Babbitt, then hundreds—if not thousands—of rioters around the country, including those who broke into government buildings, could have been legally gunned down, even if they were unarmed. Does anyone think that such shootings would have been justified by those who now laud Byrd, or that the cops involved would not have been dismissed and put on trial?
The point here isn’t so much the hypocrisy of those applauding Babbitt’s death. It’s that, by deeming the shooting justified despite the facts of the case and the law, the federal government sets a standard that appears to rest on the victim’s politics and race rather than an objective judgment about a legal question. Treating rioters, even those who break the law, as undeserving of civil rights and legal protection is unsupportable no matter their cause. Such treatment is a greater threat to democracy and communal peace than even the actions of the Capitol rioters.
— Jonathin Tobin in The Ashli Babbitt Standard