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Capitol Rioter Wanted to Lynch Black Officer He Believed Shot Ashli Babbitt, Prosecutors Say


A U.S. Capitol rioter from Texas who said that he brought a rope with him to Congress on Jan. 6 threatened days later to lynch a Black police officer that he believed fatally shot Ashli Babbitt, federal prosecutors wrote in a legal brief on Monday. The startling allegation surfaced in court papers against 34-year-old Garret Miller, whom prosecutors want to keep behind bars pending trial.

Babbitt was fatally shot when she and the other rioters tried to break into the Speaker’s Lobby, where lawmakers had taken cover.

According to prosecutors, Miller referred to Babbitt as his “sister in battle” and began to see himself as her avenger.

“He became consumed with her death and circulated photographs on Facebook of an African-American police officer that he believed was responsible for her death,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth C. Kelley wrote in a 16-page legal brief on Monday. “Miller threatened to kill that officer, stating that he wanted to ‘hug his neck with a nice rope’ and that ‘he will swing.’ He also said that the officer deserved to die and that ‘it’s huntin season.'”

“His fixation with hunting down and hanging a USCP officer is extremely concerning,” prosecutors added of Miller.

Now facing a 12-count indictment, Miller has been charged with assaulting police officers, threatening to assassinate Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), and several charges related to U.S. Capitol insurrection. Prosecutors say that Miller’s remarks were especially chilling in light of what authorities found in his house.

“The FBI recovered numerous ropes from his house,” the government memo states.

Prosecutors quoted Miller saying that he also brought ropes with him to the Capitol.

“Immediately after stating on social media that the USCP officer ‘will swing,’ Miller stated that he brought ropes with him to D.C. on January 6, 2021,” the memo says.

Court papers quote Miller fantasizing about the subject on Instagram, allegedly writing of the officer on Jan. 10: “His execution must be televised.”

“Later in the conversation, Miller states, ‘I’m threatening justice on criminals,’ and sent a picture of a rope tied to a noose,” the memo says. “He then stated about the USCP officer, whom Miller believed to be African-American, ‘He’s a prize to be taken’ and ‘He will swing. . . . I had a rope in my bag on that day,’ meaning January 6, 2021.”

Prosecutors quote him making similar threats on Jan. 11 and Jan. 18.

“He’s everyone’s favorite cop now,” Miller is quoted as writing on Jan. 18. “We going to get a hold of him and hug his neck with a nice rope.”

Prosecutors even say that Miller, on the day of his Jan. 20 arrest, was wearing a t-shirt with Donald Trump’s face on it and the words, “I Was There, Washington D.C., January 6, 2021.”

Miller’s social media tirades have landed him in hot water since his case opened, and a screenshot of his tweet “Assassinate AOC” was embedded in his criminal complaint.

Court papers also capture him boasting about the evidence he left behind tying him to the crimes alleged against him.

“After Miller posted the selfie above showing him inside the U.S. Capitol building, an individual on Facebook commented, ‘bro you got in?! Nice!,’ to which Miller replied, ‘just wanted to incriminate myself a little lol,’” the FBI wrote in a statement of facts against him.

Miller’s attorney did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment.

(Garret Miller via FBI)

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Law&Crime's managing editor Adam Klasfeld has spent more than a decade on the legal beat. Previously a reporter for Courthouse News, he has appeared as a guest on NewsNation, NBC, MSNBC, CBS's "Inside Edition," BBC, NPR, PBS, Sky News, and other networks. His reporting on the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell was featured on the Starz and Channel 4 documentary "Who Is Ghislaine Maxwell?" He is the host of Law&Crime podcast "Objections: with Adam Klasfeld."