A man who attacked police during the Jan. 6 insurrection has been sentenced to spend more than five years in prison after throwing a wooden plank at officers and spraying them with a fire extinguisher, then throwing the canister.
Robert Palmer‘s 63-month sentence is the longest prison term to date in connection with the Capitol riot.
When announcing the sentence, US District Judge Tanya Chutkan referenced law enforcement’s bravery in their attempts to hold off the mob at the Capitol.
“The men and women who kept democracy functioning that day and saved lives, they deserve the thanks of this nation,” Chutkan said. “They didn’t deserve to have fire extinguishers thrown at them.”
The judge informed Palmer that his punishment had to “make it clear that the actions you engaged in, cannot happen again.”
“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 said of Palmer’s sentence.
“Not staying at home, not watching Netflix. Not doing what you were doing before you got arrested in this case. That there are going to be consequences.
The judge stated she was not persuaded that Palmer was not entitled to a lesser sentence due to challenges he faced as a child or because former president Donald Trump encouraged the insurrection had not faced criminal charges.
“He didn’t like the results and he didn’t want the transition of power to take place because his guy lost,” Chutkan said. “The issue of who has or has not been charged is not before me. I don’t have any influence about that. I have my opinions, but they are not relevant.”
In Friday’s hearings, her comments to Palmer about him not “staying at home” were reminiscent of past remarks she made in October in a case where she imposed a sentence that was harsher than what prosecutors sought for a rioter who pleaded guilty to a nonviolent misdemeanor crime.
Chutkan has since gone above the government’s recommendations in quite a few Capitol riot cases, while some of her colleagues have taken the opposite approach and rejected jail sentences in favor of probation and fines for misdemeanor offenders.
Once he’s released, Palmer will spend an additional three years on supervised release.
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.
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