An enthusiastic supporter of Donald Trump who assaulted law enforcement officers with a fire extinguisher while wearing an American flag sweatshirt emblazoned with Trump’s name should serve more than five years in federal prison, Justice Department prosecutors said Friday.
Robert Scott Palmer was arrested 12 days after he was identified in a March HuffPost story as the Capitol rioter who assaulted cops with a fire extinguisher as they tried to protect the Capitol on Jan. 6. He has been locked up since he pleaded guilty in October to assaulting, resisting or impeding certain officers using a dangerous weapon, inflicting bodily injury.
Judge Tanya Chutkan will sentence Palmer, who committed his assault on officers while wearing a red “Florida for Trump” hat, on Dec. 17. In a sentencing memo Friday, federal prosecutors sought 63 months behind bars.
Palmer will be the first Capitol defendant to be sentenced for a felony assault in connection with the brutal attack on law enforcement at the tunnel on the west side of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Video showed him spraying embattled officers with the contents of a fire extinguisher and then chucking the empty canister at the police line.
After he assaulted cops at the Capitol on Jan. 6, Palmer told HuffPost that the Biden administration was trying to “vilify the patriots” who took part in the Jan. 6 riot. He hung up when a HuffPost reporter asked him about assaulting cops with a fire extinguisher.
Federal prosecutors cited Palmer’s interview with HuffPost in their sentencing memo. “On March 4, 2021, after Palmer had been identified by an online sleuth, Palmer was contacted by a reporter for the Huffington Post,” the memo states. “Palmer told the reporter he had done nothing to justify being struck with a police munition. He also told the reporter ‘I didn’t do anything wrong.’”
“As Palmer entered the Capitol grounds and watched law enforcement officers being assaulted, it was abundantly clear to him that lawmakers, and the law enforcement officers who tried to protect them, were under siege by others similarly willing to use force to undermine the election,” federal prosecutors wrote. “Law enforcement officers were overwhelmed, outnumbered, and in some cases, in serious danger. Palmer directly, and physically, added to that danger by his use of violence. Assaulting law enforcement officers with a dangerous weapon is the epitome of disrespect for the law.”
Palmer ― a resident of Clearwater, Florida, who celebrated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Super Bowl win in February at a parade ahead of his arrest in connection with Jan. 6 ― lawyered up after his discussion with HuffPost and surrendered to the FBI shortly thereafter.
The FBI has made more than 675 arrests in connection with the Jan. 6 attacks, roughly one-fourth of the total number of people who engaged in chargeable conduct during the Jan. 6 attack. The FBI is searching for more than 350 people who engaged in felonious conduct on Jan. 6, including more than 250 members of the pro-Trump mob who assaulted law enforcement that day.