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Ashli Babbitt’s brother accused of racist attack and hate crime

Ashli Babbitt’s brother accused of racist attack and hate crime
The man has been charged with committing a hate crime against a Latino utility worker

The half-brother of Ashli Babbitt, a Capitol riot protester who was shot and killed on 6 January, 2021 while trying to stop the 2020 electoral vote count, has been accused of hurling racist slurs at a utility worker in California.

Roger Stefan Witthoeft Jr, 33, has been accused of going on a racist rant aimed at a traffic controller employed by a utility company after he encountered a roadblock caused by their work.

According to the San Diego city attorney, the encounter occurred in September in the city’s Point Loma neighbourhood. Mr Witthoeft approached the roadblock around 11.10pm and became irate when he was told he would have to take a detour.

WGN9 reports he allegedly yelled slurs at a Latino worker, telling him to “go back to your country.” Mr Witthoeft challenged the employee to fight him, prosecutors claim. He then allegedly pushed the worker and tried to punch him, knocking off the man’s hard hat.

Mr Witthoeft allegedly called the worker a “f****** immigrant” and demanded he “talk English” during the encounter.

<p>Roger Stefan Witthoeft Jr, the half brother of Capitol rioter Ashli Babbitt</p>

Roger Stefan Witthoeft Jr, the half brother of Capitol rioter Ashli Babbitt

He was arraigned earlier in March on battery charges with an enhancement for hate crimes. He was also charged with violating the worker’s constitutional rights by threat of force, according to the city attorney’s office.

He will appear at trial in April.

Mr Witthoeft’s half-sister became a national figure and martyr to right wing extremists after she was killed while trying to breach the Capitol. On 6 January, 2021, Ms Babbitt, an Air Force veteran, was trying to climb through a broken window in a Capitol door when she was shot by a Capitol police officer. She died from her wound.

The officer who killed Ms Babbitt was cleared of all wrongdoing following an investigation. Lt Michael Byrd, who shot Ms Babbitt, called his actions a “last resort” he took in order to “save the lives of members of Congress and myself and my fellow officers.”

Lawmakers inside the Capitol were still barricaded beyond the doors of the Speaker’s Lobby when Ms Babbitt tried to climb into the chamber. They were evacuated a short time later.

Ms Babbitt’s death has served as a rallying cry for Donald Trump loyalists and other those with extreme right-wing ideologies, including members of the QAnon conspiracy movement. Bob Bulos, one of the truckers participating in the “People’s Convoy” currently circling Washington DC, said he was participating in the protest in part to get “justice” for Ms Babbitt’s death.