On Friday Robert S. Palmer a man who watched and cheered the Capitol riot before joining the mob and throwing a fire extinguisher, plank, and long pole at officers was sentenced to more than five years in federal prison – the longest sentence so far given for someone charged in the Jan. 6 attack.
Robert S. Palmer, 54 of Largo, Fla., pleaded guilty in October to assaulting law enforcement officers with a dangerous weapon and was set for a sentencing range of 46-57 months.
However, after entering D.C. jail and making his online fundraising plea, Palmer claimed he did “go on the defense and throw a fire extinguisher at police” after being shot with rubber bullets and tear gas.
On Friday Robert S. Palmer, a man who watched and cheered the Capitol riot before joining the mob and throwing a fire extinguisher, plank, and long pole at officers was sentenced to more than five years in federal prison – the longest sentence so far given for someone charged in the Jan. 6 attack. admitted on Friday that his story about throwing a fire extinguisher twice, an eight- to ten-foot plank, and then a four- to five-foot pole at police was false.
This falsehood showed a failure to accept responsibility for his actions; when U.S. District Judge Tanya S. Chutkan agreed with this contention, she increased Palmer’s sentencing range from 63 months up to 78 months and ultimately imposed a 63-month term as punishment.
Look behind you Chutkan instructed Palmer in the courtroom
“Look behind you,” Chutkan instructed Palmer in the courtroom. “Those are U.S. marshals; they ran from here and put themselves at risk to protect those in the Capitol – that’s what they’re sworn to do.
These patriots, those working that night in that Capitol – they did what they got paid to do even though they didn’t know if they would come out alive that night.”
Robert S. Palmer confessed, “I am deeply, deeply ashamed of what I did.”
He recalled that while in jail he saw footage of himself on an MSNBC news program.
“I was horrified, devastated to see myself on there,” Palmer recalled.
Last month, Trump wrote to the judge with the following admission: “I recognize that we were deceived by those with great power – both the sitting president and those acting on his behalf.”
Charged with assaulting police on Jan. 6
Of the more than 130 defendants charged with assaulting police on Jan. 6, Palmer is the second who has been sentenced. Prosecutors gave him credit for surrendering in March and cooperating with law enforcement, asking Chutkan to give him at least the low end of the 63-78 month range suggested by federal sentencing guidelines; on average, Chutkan reported, sentences given in this range from 66 months.
On Jan. 6, video footage captured Palmer leaning over the rail on the upper west terrace during intense fighting between mob and police, cheering and holding a sign reading “Biden is a Pedophile,” court records state. He was wearing a “Florida for Trump” hat and jacket designed like the flag of the United States, seen cheering during the violence in video form.
Prosecutors said Palmer made his way down into the heart of the battle about 50 minutes later, holding a wooden plank and throwing it at officers as it landed atop a riot shield. Although not directly injured anyone, Palmer still continued his assault.
Minutes later, another rioter began spraying fire extinguishers at officers before dropping them and then picking them up and spraying until empty. He then reared back and threw the extinguisher into officers again, hitting a riot shield this time. Shortly after, Palmer picked it up again and hurled it into an orange traffic barrier as well.
At 5:15 p.m. on the plaza, Palmer picked up a four to five-foot pole and ignored warnings from Virginia State Police officers to drop it. He then began shouting obscenities before throwing the pole like a spear – at which point a state trooper fired a 40mm rubber bullet which struck him in the stomach; however, no one else was hit by this shot.
The rubber bullet hit Palmer in the leg, but he soon got up again and claimed that police had misidentified why he had been shot, according to government sources.
Prosecutors wrote in their sentencing memo that Palmer attempted to portray himself as the victim rather than the aggressor, pointing at his abdomen and shouting ‘This is America! This is what our country does to its citizens!'”
Later, Palmer gave media interviews portraying himself as a victim and maintaining that he had done nothing wrong.
Chutkan inquired about his recent online post, in which he sought to raise money for his defense, in which he stated that he was acting in self-preservation.
“When you threw the fire extinguisher and pole,” the judge asked, “were you acting in self-preservation?”
“No,” Palmer replied.
At a later press conference, Palmer stated: “The officers were so brave to endure what they endured. I am ashamed to have been part of it… It was all lies; it never should have occurred.”
Chutkan said, “I don’t know if your regret now is genuine or not. Your actions following your plea undermine that argument.”
The judge declared, “Those men and women who kept democracy running that day, saving lives, deserve our gratitude as a nation. They didn’t deserve fire extinguishers thrown at them; they didn’t deserve to be spat upon. Now that you have seen yourself on videotape and media coverage, perhaps you understand how terrified this country must have felt on that day.”