The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Ashli Babbitt’s mother arrested on Capitol riot anniversary

Officers take Micki Witthoeft, the mother of Ashli Babbitt, by the arm after she refused police warnings to move from the street onto the sidewalk. (Kyle Anderson/for The Washington Post)
4 min

Micki Witthoeft, the mother of Ashli Babbitt, was arrested for blocking traffic on Capitol grounds on Friday, the two-year anniversary of the death of her daughter after she stormed the building in a pro-Trump mob.

Witthoeft, 58, was arrested around 1:45 p.m. for failing to obey police orders and blocking and obstructing roadways, according to a statement from U.S. Capitol Police. The group did not have a permit to demonstrate, the statement said, and Witthoeft “asked to be arrested.”

As is routine in these types of arrests, she was processed, given a citation to appear in court and released, the statement said.

The arrest came as other groups opposed to the events of Jan. 6 rallied outside the Capitol on the anniversary of the insurrection, decrying what they viewed as the unraveling of hard-earned civil rights.

“What we saw here two years ago was a physical attack on our democracy, but what we have seen since then, in some ways, is even more insidious,” said Arndrea Waters King, the wife of Martin Luther King III, the late civil rights leader’s eldest son. “We’ve seen the structural attack on our democracy. We are seeing laws that should lift us all up being used to limit and roll back hard-won rights.”

‘The storm is here’: Ashli Babbitt’s journey from capital ‘guardian’ to invader

Witthoeft and her supporters were blocking traffic on Independence Avenue SW, near First Street SW, when Capitol Police officers and officials approached the group, directed them to move to the sidewalk and warned that if they did not, they would be arrested, according to the statement.

“We’re not discussing it. Sidewalk now, or you’re under arrest. It’s that simple. We’re not discussing it. We’re not having any discussions. The sidewalk, or you’ll be placed under arrest,” an officer said, according to a video of the interaction posted by News2Share’s Ford Fischer, a documentarian who films political activism.

Witthoeft then turned her back to police and placed her hands behind her back, the video shows. “Go ahead,” the officer said, as officers took Witthoeft by the arms toward a police vehicle.

Babbitt was fatally shot by police on Jan. 6, 2021, as she was attempting to climb through a window of a barricaded door inside the Capitol building. On Friday, Witthoeft and supporters shouted Babbitt’s name as officers led Witthoeft to the police vehicle, according to a live stream posted on YouTube.

‘The storm is here’: Ashli Babbitt’s journey from capital ‘guardian’ to invader

Earlier in the day, that video showed Witthoeft speaking to supporters outside the Supreme Court.

“As we stand in front of this building that says ‘equal justice under the law,’ let’s seek that,” she said. “Let’s make that attainable.”

At the rally outside the Capitol, King spoke of the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act that the Supreme Court weakened in 2013 and criticized restrictions on voting and abortion in her home state of Georgia.

Other speakers included Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Md.) and representatives from groups like Declaration for American Democracy, Not Above the Law Coalition, the Women’s March, Sierra Club and March for Our Lives. The crowd also heard a statement from Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.).

Addison Rose, youth mayor of D.C., spoke of how the attack on the Capitol “happened in our city. For some of us, even right down the street.” She brought up how unlike states, where governors have the power to mobilize their National Guard units, D.C. was not able to mobilize its own units in response to the Jan. 6 attack. Rose, who said she recently turned 18 and plans to vote in every election, urged those listening to vote in support of D.C. statehood.

“We can never again allow our country to become so divided that our president is able to get people to attempt and overthrow our government and not accept the results of an election,” she said. “The more we do now to ensure the future of our country is bright, the further away we are from violent attacks like we saw two years ago.”