Prosecutors are seeking 5 years in prison — the longest sentence yet — for a Capitol rioter who assaulted police with a fire extinguisher

Capitol police use tear gas on Trump mob on January 6
Police use tear gas around Capitol building where pro-Trump supporters broke windows and breached the Capitol building in an attempt to overthrow the results of the 2020 election.

  • Robert Palmer pleaded guilty to assaulting police with dangerous weapons during the Capitol riot.
  • Prosecutors recommended a five-year sentence, which would be the longest to date for a Capitol rioter.
  • Prosecutors said despite pleading guilty, Palmer has shown a lack of remorse.

A 54-year-old man from Florida who attacked police officers with a wooden plank and fire extinguisher on January 6 could get five years in prison, the longest sentence for any Capitol riot defendant to date.

Robert Palmer pleaded guilty in October to assaulting law enforcement with dangerous weapons during the attack. According to a court document signed by Palmer, he threw a wooden panel at police officers who were protecting an archway that led inside the Capitol from the lower West Terrace.

Moments later, Palmer was at the front of the mob confronting the officers where he sprayed a fire extinguisher in their direction until it was empty. He then hurled the fire extinguisher at the officers. Prosecutors said it did not hit an officer but that it was thrown with enough force to inflict “serious bodily injury.”

Capitol riot defendant Robert Palmer throwing a fire extinguisher.
Capitol riot defendant Robert Palmer throwing a fire extinguisher.

Some of the most violent clashes of the insurrection happened near Palmer. Officer Michael Fanone, who was beaten unconscious, tased, and threatened with death during the riot, was protecting the West Terrace when he was attacked.

Palmer faces a maximum penalty of up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. In a sentencing memo filed Friday, prosecutors recommended he be sentenced to 63 months in prison, saying despite pleading guilty he has shown a lack of remorse for his actions.

“Palmer’s statements – both on January 6 and up to the present — suggest a distinct lack of remorse for his conduct, a tenuous relationship with truth, and a willingness to repeat falsehoods for personal benefit,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Juman wrote, citing that Palmer told members of the media he had “done nothing wrong.”

Prosecutors also said the five-year sentence was at the low end of possible sentence lengths, crediting Palmer for cooperating with investigators and pleading guilty early.

More than 700 people have been charged in the Capitol riot. Jacob Chansley, also known as the “QAnon Shaman,” has received the longest sentence so far, 41 months in prison.

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