Robert Scott Palmer of Largo, Florida, was sentenced in federal court to 63 months in prison on Friday for assaulting law enforcement with dangerous weapons during the January 6 breach of the US Capitol.
Palmer is the first defendant from the breach of the Capitol to be sentenced for assaulting, resisting, or impeding officers with a dangerous or deadly weapon. Palmer’s sentence is the longest from the investigation of the breach of the Capitol thus far. “It has to be made clear that trying to stop the peaceful transition of power, assaulting law enforcement, is going to be met with certain punishment,” District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan said as she handed down the sentence.
Palmer was charged with throwing a plank at Capitol police and Washington police while he was standing outside the Capitol. Approximately two minutes later, Palmer then sprayed a fire extinguisher at the officers until it was empty and then threw the fire extinguisher at them.
A specific injury is not connected to Palmer’s actions, but the wooden plank and fire extinguisher were capable of causing serious bodily injury because of the size and weight of the objects, and the speed and force Palmer threw them with.
In a letter to District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan last month, Palmer wrote, “I realize that we, meaning Trump supporters, were lied to by those that at the time had great power, meaning the sitting president as well as those acting on his behalf.” At the sentencing, Palmer stated, “I’m really, really ashamed of what I did.”
During the sentencing, Judge Chutkan said to Palmer, “The men and women who kept democracy functioning that day, and saved lives, they deserve the thanks of the nation. They didn’t deserve to have fire extinguishers thrown at them; they didn’t deserve to be spat on. Perhaps, having seen yourself on videotape and media coverage, you understand how terrified the rest of this country must have been.”
Over 700 individuals have been arrested for crimes related to the breach of the Capitol, and over 220 individuals have been charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement. The investigation is ongoing.