Florida Man Pleads Guilty to Assault on Law Enforcement During Jan. 6 Capitol Breach
Defendant Admits to Throwing Plank and Spraying Fire Extinguisher at Officers Who Were Attempting to Secure Lower West Terrace
A Florida man pleaded guilty today to assaulting law enforcement with dangerous weapons during the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, which disrupted a joint session of the U.S. Congress that was in the process of ascertaining and counting the electoral votes related to the presidential election.
According to court documents, Robert Scott Palmer, 54, of Largo, was among rioters outside the U.S. Capitol on the afternoon of Jan. 6. At approximately 4:53 p.m., he was standing near the archway leading from the lower west terrace to the interior of the Capitol. While there, he threw a wooden plank at U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) and Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) officers protecting the lower west terrace entrance. Approximately two minutes later, he was at the front line of rioters confronting the officers located within the lower west terrace archway. At this time, Palmer sprayed the contents of a fire extinguisher at the officers until it was empty. He then threw the fire extinguisher at the officers.
Although no specific injury was tied to this conduct, based on the size and weight of the plank and fire extinguisher, and the speed and force with which Palmer threw them, the objects were capable of inflicting serious bodily injury.
Palmer was arrested in Florida on March 17, and is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 17 at 12:30 p.m. He faces a statutory maximum penalty of up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for assaulting, resisting, or impeding officers using a dangerous weapon. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Department of Justice National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section. Valuable assistance was provided by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida.
The case is being investigated by the FBI’s Tampa and Washington Field Offices, with assistance from the U.S. Capitol Police and Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department. The FBI’s Washington Field Office identified Palmer as #246 in its seeking information photos.
In the eight months since Jan. 6, more than 600 individuals have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including at least 185 individuals charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement. The investigation remains ongoing.
Anyone with tips can call 1-800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324) or visit tips.fbi.gov.
The charges contained in any criminal complaint or indictment are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.