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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Columbia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, December 17, 2021

Florida Man Sentenced to 63 Months in Prison for Assaulting Law Enforcement During Capitol Breach

Defendant Threw Plank and Sprayed Fire Extinguisher at Officers Attempting to Secure Lower West Terrace

            WASHINGTON – Robert Scott Palmer, of Largo, Florida, was sentenced today to 63 months in prison for 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.

            Palmer is the first Jan. 6 defendant to be sentenced on the charge of assaulting, resisting, or impeding officers using a dangerous or deadly weapon. This was the longest sentence imposed to date in the investigation into the events of Jan. 6.

            According to court documents, Palmer, 54, of Largo, Florida, 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 and Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department officers protecting the Lower West Terrace entrance. Then, 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. He pleaded guilty in the District of Columbia on Oct. 4, 2021, to assaulting, resisting, or impeding officers using a dangerous weapon. In addition to the prison term, Judge Tanya S. Chutkan ordered him to pay $2,000 in restitution. He also must serve a period of three years of supervised release following completion of his prison term.

            The case was 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 was 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 11 months since Jan. 6, more than 700 individuals have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including over 220 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.

Updated December 17, 2021