January 6 Rioter Robert Palmer Receives Longest Sentence After Plank, Extinguisher Assault

A judge on Friday sentenced Capitol rioter Robert Palmer to 63 months in federal prison for assaulting police with a fire extinguisher and a wooden plank during the Capitol attack on January 6.

U.S. DistrictJudge Tanya Chutkan issued the sentence after Palmer pleaded guilty to charges of the assault, Zoe Tillman, a Buzzfeed News reporter, tweeted. This is the longest sentence issued in connected with the Capitol riot.

"Show your children that while we make mistakes and we can do bad things, it does not make us irredeemable people. Good luck to you sir," Chutkan said.

"It has to be made clear that trying to violently overthrow the government, trying to stop the peaceful transfer of power and assaulting law enforcement officers in that effort is going to be met with absolutely certain punishment," Chutkan added, according to Buzzfeed.

Fifty-four-year-old Palmer, who is from Largo City, Florida, pleaded guilty in October to assaulting law enforcement during the Capitol breach.

"He threw a wooden plank at U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) and Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) officers protecting the lower west terrace entrance," an October statement by the Department of Justice read.

"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," the Justice Department added.

During the court session on Friday, Chutkan spoke about the way law enforcement helped protect individuals and the Capitol that day and that they didn't deserve Palmer's actions against them.

"Despite being outnumbered that day, law enforcement officers labored valiantly and tirelessly," Chutkan said, according to Tillman. "They were the patriots that day, Mr. Palmer."

"The men and women who kept democracy functioning that day and saved lives, they deserve the thanks of this nation," Chutkan added. "They didn't deserve to have fire extinguishers thrown at them."

On Friday in court, Palmer expressed his regret about participating in the riot on January 6 and said that he was "really, really ashamed of what I did," according to Huffpost.

He added that when he was detained he had watched a video clip of himself that showed him attacking police officers. He told the judge that he "was horrified" by the video, according to the news outlet.

Prior to Friday's sentencing, Palmer wrote a letter to Chutkan admitting his actions on the day of the Capitol attack, according to WTSP, a St. Petersburg, Florida, television station. In his letter, Palmer spoke about the way he was misled by others ahead of January 6.

"They kept spitting out the false narrative about a stolen election and how it was 'our duty' to stand up to tyranny," Palmer wrote, according to the news outlet. "Little did I realize that they were the tyrannical ones, desperate to hold onto power at any cost, even by creating the chaos they knew would happen with such rhetoric."

Earlier this month, the Justice Department recommended that Palmer receive a 63-month-sentence in jail for his actions, according to WTSP.

Palmer's attorney, Bjorn Brunvand, said that his client believed that he was acting in the best interest of the country at the time.

"Mr. Palmer realizes in retrospect that his actions hurt the nation," Brunvand said, according to WTSP. "At the time of his actions, he believed that he was acting in the country's best interests. As distorted as his mindset was at that time, his heart was set on doing what he believed was right."

Newsweek contacted Palmer's attorney for comments.

Update 12/17/2021 3:37 PM ET: This story has been undated to include more background information on the case.

Capitol Rioter Robert Palmer Receives Longest sentence
Robert Palmer was sentenced to 63 months in federal prison for assaulting police during the Capitol attack on January 6. Above, demonstrators gather for the "Justice for J6" rally in Washington, D.C., on September 18 in support of the pro-Trump rioters who ransacked the U.S. Capitol on January 6. Photo by PEDRO UGARTE/AFP via Getty Images