A Capitol police officer who shot and killed Ashli Babbitt during the Jan. 6 riot bravely stepped forward and revealed his identity on Thursday in an interview on NBC Nightly News. After the attempted insurrection, Lt. Michael Leroy Byrd, a 28-year-veteran of the force, had faced threats and intimidation, as his name traveled in various circles. Russian state television besmirched Byrd for months and revealed his ethnicity long before he was publicly identified. State TV hosts and pundits repeatedly described him as a “Black officer” and outrageously attributed his motives for shooting Babbitt to reverse racism against white people.
Thursday’s broadcast of the Russian state TV show 60 Minutes went all in on that demented line of attack with a segment entitled “Black Racism.” During the episode, host Olga Skabeeva claimed: “Sensation in the case of the Capitol riot! Today, during primetime, the most liberal American television channel will air the interview with the black policeman who shot an unarmed white woman, a follower of [former U.S. President] Donald Trump, Air Force veteran Ashli Babbitt. Ashli tried to walk from one room to the next, through the door broken by somebody else, but instead was struck by the bullet.”
Skabeeva continued her diatribe: “The American justice system somehow managed to clear the officer of all charges… In case you didn’t know, the policeman got away with it because he is Black—and Blacks are permitted to kill white people. I will remind you that when the dark-skinned criminal George Floyd was accidentally choked during his apprehension, a white policeman was sentenced to prison for more than 22 1/2 years.”
The comparisons between George Floyd and Ashli Babbitt have been featured on Russian state TV since January, with detailed compilations of bullet points that smeared Floyd and extolled Babbitt. State TV show The Evening With Vladimir Soloviev compared the list of George Floyd’s alleged crimes against Ashli Babbitt’s achievements. The host, Vladimir Soloviev, described Babbitt as “the icon of neocons” and claimed: “Only white America cares about her death, but not the democratic press.”