Capitol rioter who hurled fire extinguisher at police given harshest sentence yet

Robert S Palmer pleaded guilty in October

Josh Marcus
San Francisco
Friday 17 December 2021 20:07
<p>Robert S Palmer is pictured throwing a fire extinguisher at police during the 6 January, 2021, riot at the US Capitol.</p>

Robert S Palmer is pictured throwing a fire extinguisher at police during the 6 January, 2021, riot at the US Capitol.

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A Trump supporter who attacked police officers using a fire extinguisher during the 6 January riot at the US Capitol has been sentenced to more than five years in prison, the harshest punishment yet in a Capitol riot case.

Robert S Palmer of Largo, Florida, pleaded guilty in October, on charges of assaulting law enforcement with a dangerous weapon.

He threw a fire extinguisher, a plank, and a pole at riot police during the storming of the Capitol, according to prosecutors.

After his guilty plea, the 54-year-old then attempted to fundraise online and claimed he was forced to “go on the defence” when police shot him with a rubber bullet, which he admitted was a lie during his Friday sentencing hearing.

“I’m really, really ashamed of what I did,” Palmer told the court, recounting how he’d seen footage of himself on TV while in jail. “I was horrified, absolutely devastated to see myself on there.”

He also faulted Donald Trump and his allies for inflaming so many Americans.

“I realise that we, meaning Trump supporters, were lied to by those that at the time had great power, meaning the sitting president as well as those acting on his behalf,” he wrote in a letter to the court last month.

More than 725 people have been arrested and charged in connection with the riot, which resulted in the deaths of five people, while more than 100 police officers were injured.

And even more people are still wanted for breaching the Capitol, as overwhelmed Washington DC police allowed numerous rioters to walk out of the building once the violence subsided.

As courts continue to prosecute the Capitol rioters, Congress’s investigation of the 6 January riot is heating up, as lawmakers have accessed numerous texts between then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, prominent lawmakers, protest leaders, and media figures from the day of the riot.

“These text messages leave no doubt,” representative Liz Cheney, of the inquiry, said earlier this week. “The White House knew exactly what was happening here at the Capitol.”

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