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The brother of the late Capitol rioter Ashli Babbitt was charged with a hate crime after he allegedly launched into a foul-mouthed racist tirade at a California roadblock. 

Roger Stefan Witthoeft Jr., 33, of Lakeside, allegedly tried to punch a San Diego Gas & Electric Company traffic controller in September 2021 after he got stopped by roadblocks on Voltaire Street and Mendocino Boulevard in Point Loma. Witthoeft started yelling a ‘number of racial slurs’ at the victim and knocked off his hardhat, it is alleged. 

He reportedly yelled while shoving the unidentified worker: ‘Go back to your country you f**king immigrant. Why don’t you talk in English, you f**king immigrant.’ It is unclear what language the worker spoke to him in. 

Witthoeft, whose Air Force veteran sister was shot dead by Capitol Police Lieutenant Michael Byrd during the January 6 riots, was arraigned on March 1 for a battery charge with a hate crime enhancement. That saw him charged with violating a Latino worker’s constitutional rights by threatening force, the San Diego Attorney’s Office said.  He pleaded not guilty.

Roger Stefan Witthoeft Jr., 33, of Lakeside, was arraigned on March 1 for a battery charge with a hate crime enhancement and for violating a Latino worker's constitutional rights by threatening force. He pleaded not guilty

Roger Stefan Witthoeft Jr., 33, of Lakeside, was arraigned on March 1 for a battery charge with a hate crime enhancement and for violating a Latino worker's constitutional rights by threatening force. He pleaded not guilty

Roger Stefan Witthoeft Jr., 33, of Lakeside, was arraigned on March 1 for a battery charge with a hate crime enhancement and for violating a Latino worker’s constitutional rights by threatening force. He pleaded not guilty

He is the brother of Ashli Babbitt, a January 6 Capitol rioter who was shot dead by police

He is the brother of Ashli Babbitt, a January 6 Capitol rioter who was shot dead by police

He is the brother of Ashli Babbitt, a January 6 Capitol rioter who was shot dead by police 

Witthoeft is pictured with his late sister in an undated photograph

Witthoeft is pictured with his late sister in an undated photograph

Witthoeft is pictured with his late sister in an undated photograph 

Witthoeft had driven up to the road closure around 11pm on September 14 and the worker informed him he would have to take a detour around the construction.

It is unknown if he was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time, and his trial is expected to start in April. 

Witthoeft worked at his sister’s pool company called Fowler’s Pool Service & Supply Inc, which she owned with her second husband Aaron. Following her death, a poster adorned the company’s front door that read: ‘Mask Free Autonomous Zone. Better Known as America.’

The pool company has been sued twice for breach of contract, the Los Angeles Times reported. 

Witthoeft revealed he was related to Capitol rioter Ashli Babbitt in a New York Times article last year where he said he was surprised his sister went to the January 6 Capitol riot, but not that she protested. 

‘My sister was 35 and served 14 years — to me that’s the majority of your conscious adult life.’ he told the Times August. Babbitt was an Air Force veteran. ‘If you feel like you gave the majority of your life to your country and you’re not being listened to, that is a hard pill to swallow. That’s why she was upset.’ 

She and a group of others tried to get inside the Speaker's Lobby in the Capitol and when two men hoisted her up into the hole in the door, she was shot and fell backwards with blood pouring out of her mouth

She and a group of others tried to get inside the Speaker's Lobby in the Capitol and when two men hoisted her up into the hole in the door, she was shot and fell backwards with blood pouring out of her mouth

She and a group of others tried to get inside the Speaker’s Lobby in the Capitol and when two men hoisted her up into the hole in the door, she was shot and fell backwards with blood pouring out of her mouth 

Babbitt can be seen receiving CPR at the Capitol on January 6 2021 after she was shot dead

Babbitt can be seen receiving CPR at the Capitol on January 6 2021 after she was shot dead

Babbitt can be seen receiving CPR at the Capitol on January 6 2021 after she was shot dead 

U.S. Capitol Police Michael Byrd is seen minutes before fatally shooting Babbitt she and other rioters were breaking into the Speaker's Lobby where members of Congress were retreating

U.S. Capitol Police Michael Byrd is seen minutes before fatally shooting Babbitt she and other rioters were breaking into the Speaker's Lobby where members of Congress were retreating

U.S. Capitol Police Michael Byrd is seen minutes before fatally shooting Babbitt she and other rioters were breaking into the Speaker’s Lobby where members of Congress were retreating

The 35-year-old rioter was shot and killed after she and a group of others smashed glass on the door leading to the Speaker’s Lobby of the Capitol, where lawmakers were barricaded in. Babbitt, who was wearing a Trump flag around her neck as a cape, was shot by plain-clothed cop Michael Byrd after two men hoisted up into the broken window, causing her to fall backward with blood pouring out of her mouth. 

Byrd was never criminally charged, and was cleared of all professional wrongdoing, to the fury of Babbitt’s family. He argued that he shot as a ‘last resort’ to ‘save the lives of members of Congress and myself and my fellow officers.’ 

Babbitt became obsessed far-right politics following her release from the military. She reportedly frequently engaged in QAnon and other conspiracy theories online before traveling to the riot. She reported flew a QAnon flag above her Ocean Beach home. 

The far-right now consider Babbitt a martyr for their cause and Trump called her an ‘incredible person’ in a tape birthday greeting to her in October. The former president also demanded the Justice Department reinvestigate her death, which has already gone through two investigations. 

BABBITT BECAME CONTROVERSIAL ‘FACE’ OF JANUARY 6 RIOTS 

Ashli Babbit, 36, an Air Force veteran, decided she was going to attend the January 6 Capitol riot while vacationing with her husband Aaron in Cabo over Christmas 2020. 

While at the riot, she and a group of others attempted to breach the Speaker’s Lobby in the Capitol. Two men hoisted her up through a hole in the door and she was shot dead by Michael Byrd, a plainclothes officer who had been a part of the Capitol Police for 28 years and who was barricaded inside the Speaker’s Lobby with members of Congress. 

‘Once we barricaded the doors, we were essentially trapped where we were,’ Byrd told NBC News.  ‘There was no way to retreat. No other way to get out.

‘If they get through that door, they’re into the House chamber and upon the members of Congress.’ 

Byrd had reportedly yelled several times for the rioters to retreat, but they didn’t. And as Babbitt tried to scramble through the hole in the door, Trump flag cape around her neck, Byrd made the decision to fire a single shot, hitting her in the shoulder. She reportedly fell backwards into the rioters with blood spilling from her mouth. He said shooting her was his ‘last resort’ to protect the Congressmen hiding inside the Lobby. 

Babbitt later succumbed to her injuries and was pictured receiving CPR. 

Ashli Babbitt was an Air Force veteran who became political after leaving the military

Ashli Babbitt was an Air Force veteran who became political after leaving the military

Ashli Babbitt was an Air Force veteran who became political after leaving the military

The officer, who was protecting lawmakers inside the Lobby (pictured) was cleared of wrongdoing and said he shot her as a 'last resort'

The officer, who was protecting lawmakers inside the Lobby (pictured) was cleared of wrongdoing and said he shot her as a 'last resort'

 The officer, who was protecting lawmakers inside the Lobby (pictured) was cleared of wrongdoing and said he shot her as a ‘last resort’

After her death, she was glorified as a martyr by the far-right, and by former President Donald Trump, who falsely claimed Byrd worked for a high-ranking Democrat. 

However, despite the cries for a reinvestigations by the far-right, including Trump, Byrd told NBC he was still believes he did the right thing. 

‘I know that day I saved countless lives. I know members of Congress, as well as my fellow officers and staff, were in jeopardy and in serious danger. And that’s my job,’ he told NBC News. 

He didn’t know until after Babbitt’s death that she was unarmed. 

He was exonerated of all wrongdoing, causing for Trump to call for a third investigation. 

Her husband Aaron claims his wife, who he owned a pool company with, would still be alive if he had gone to the riot with her because they both ‘hate crowds.’ 

‘Nobody’s gonna watch over her or watch her back better than I could have,’ he said. ‘We never would have been in the Capitol for one…that never would have happened. I wouldn’t have gone in there. That’s not my scene.’  

Babbitt, who had served in Iraq and had previously voted for Barack Obama, was among the first of hundreds of people to breach the Capitol building’s security.

An investigation into Babbitt’s death by the US Capitol Police and the United States Department of Justice determined that the shooting was ‘lawful and within Department policy.’    

Ashli was born in 1985 to a modest Southern California family in the San Diego suburbs, where politics was not particularly important, said Roger Witthoeft, one of her four younger brothers in an interview with AFP.

She enlisted in the Air Force at 17-years-old, straight from school, and did tours of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Subsequent spells in the Air Force Reserve and the Air National Guard led to a posting near Washington, as well as two more deployments to the Middle East.

Ashli left the military as a relatively low-ranking senior airman in 2016, several years before she would have become eligible for a pension or other benefits, and she returned to her hometown, not far from the Mexican border.

There, she and her second husband took over a struggling pool maintenance company. 

In videos posted to social media, Ashli raged against both the homeless and undocumented migrants, castigating Democratic elected officials for ‘refusing to acknowledge or even admit that we do need’ a wall on the Mexican border — Trump’s signature campaign pledge.

‘The border is an absolute s**t show,’ she said. ‘There’s riots, there’s arrests, there’s rapes, there’s drugs…there are tons of issues. 

‘I want my politicians to start coming down here and telling me that my reality is a lie. You guys refuse to choose America over your stupid political party.’

She attended Trump rallies wearing the red ‘Make America Great Again’ hat that symbolized the movement, and presented herself on Twitter as a ‘libertarian.’

It was here that she railed against the ‘pedophiles’ and ‘Satanists’ she believed controlled the Democratic Party.

To her brother, Babbitt was just ‘a normal Californian.’ ‘The issues she was mad about were the things all of us are mad about,’ he said.

‘That was one of her things — for the first time in her life, she could actually say what she wanted to say, and didn’t have to bottle it up’ as she had had to do in the military.

When the Covid-19 pandemic took hold of the United States, Ashli embraced the anti-science rhetoric of the hard right.

A sign posted on the door of her company read: ‘Mask free autonomous zone, better known as America,’ where ‘we shake hands like men.’

On January 5, she took to social media again, writing: ‘Nothing will stop us…they can try and try and try but the storm is here and it is descending upon (Washington) DC in less than 24 hours…dark to light!’ 

Source: NBC News,  AFP, Los Angeles Times, and Fox 5

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