The same people who have made a hero out of Kenosha shooter Kyle Rittenouse have been trying to make a martyr out of Capitol rioter Ashli Babbitt, but a closer look at Babbitt’s life—before she was shot and killed while joining fellow insurrectionists in forcing her way into a barricaded room in the Capitol building on Jan. 6—indicates that her loyal advocates are terrible judges of character.
Recently, the Associated Press sat down with Celeste Norris, a woman who was in a live-in relationship with the man who eventually became Babbitt’s second husband, Aaron Babbitt, after the two had an affair while she was married to her first husband. Babbitt and Norris’ boyfriend apparently met at work and that’s where their affair began.
“He was telling me about this foulmouthed chick that’s on his shift, blah, blah, blah,” Norris said of her ex. “Come to find out a few months later…they were basically having this relationship while they were at work.”
Now, normally in stories that begin this way, it’s the person being cheated on who loses it and seeks to harm the homewrecker who ruined their relationship, but in Babbitt’s case, according to Norris, the late former military police officer turned domestic terrorist went on a stalking and harassing spree of the woman whose home she helped break up.
Norris told AP that the first time she met Babbitt—who went by Ashli McEntee at the time because she still had her then-husband’s last name—Babbitt had just rammed her SUV three times into Norris’ vehicle and was pounding on the window, challenging her to a fight.
“She pulls up yelling and screaming,” Norris said of the alleged July 29, 2016, incident in Prince Frederick, Maryland. “It took me a good 30 seconds to figure out who she was. Just all sorts of expletives, telling me to get out of the car, that she was going to beat my ass.”
So Norris called the police and Babbitt was arrested on numerous misdemeanor charges.
AP reviewed photos that showed the damage to Norris’ vehicle and court records show Babbitt was charged with reckless endangerment, a misdemeanor Maryland law defines as conduct “that creates a substantial risk of death or serious physical injury to another,” as well as reckless driving, negligent driving and failure to control a vehicle’s speed to avoid a collision. Despite her admitting to intentionally ramming the vehicle in court, according to Norris, Babbitt was ultimately acquitted of all charges, which Norris attributed to her attorney repeatedly touting her military career.
But Norris said Babbitt wasn’t done going full Fatal Attraction on her and was following her home from work and calling her in the middle of the night from an unlisted number.
“I lived in fear because I didn’t know what she was capable of,” Norris—who court records show requested multiple peace orders, which is a type of restraining order, against Babbitt—told the AP. “I was constantly looking over my shoulder.”
Now, again, Babbitt was acquitted of the charges, and past bad acts don’t mean she deserved to be shot on Jan. 6. Then again, when is the last time an unarmed Black person, who wasn’t even attempting to overthrow the government, was shot and killed by a cop and conservatives didn’t automatically start digging through the victim’s past to justify the shooting?
At the end of the day, Lt. Michael Byrd, the Capitol police officer who shot and killed Babbitt, was cleared of all wrongdoing and has said that he only shot her as a last resort—which is typically all white people need to hear before they decide a Black victim caused their own death.
In other words: Ashli Babbitt was no Martyr, she was a thug, amirite?