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Press Release

Lake County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Charged with Civil Rights Offenses for Shooting an Unarmed Person and Lying to Investigators

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

A Lake County Sheriff’s Office Deputy, Richard Palmer, 58, was indicted today on charges that he used unreasonable force by shooting an unarmed woman and misleading state investigators about the circumstances of his actions, announced Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division and FBI Special Agent in Charge Rachel Rojas of FBI’s Jacksonville Division.

According to the indictment, on Oct. 11, 2016, Palmer, while on duty as a Lake County Sheriff’s Office Deputy, shot a woman whose hands were visible and empty. Palmer’s actions resulted in bodily injury to her. Palmer later misled investigators by falsely justifying the shooting, claiming that the woman’s left hand was in her pocket, that the woman was pulling her left hand out of her pocket, and that he saw a dark object in her left hand.

Palmer faces a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison for his use of unreasonable force, 20 years in prison for his false statements, and fines. An indictment is merely an accusation, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.

The case was investigated by the FBI’s Jacksonville Division. Special Legal Counsel Mark Blumberg and Trial Attorneys Maura White and Anna Gotfryd of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division are prosecuting the case.

Updated August 21, 2019

Civil Rights
Press Release Number: 19-887