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Florida man charged with assaulting Capitol Police officers with a fire extinguisher

A Florida man appeared today in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida on charges stemming from his alleged attack on law enforcement officers, as well as other crimes, during the riots at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 that disrupted a Joint Session of the U.S. Congress in the process of affirming Presidential election results.

According to the FBI, 53-year-old Robert Scott Palmer, of Largo, Florida, was charged by criminal complaint with one count of assaulting, resisting, opposing, impeding, intimidating, or interfering with any person assisting an officer or employee of the United States in the performance of their official duties while armed with a deadly or dangerous weapon; one count of obstructing, impeding, or interfering with any law enforcement officer during the commission of a civil disorder which in any way obstructs or delays the conduct or performance of any federally protected function; and one count each of unlawful entry, engaging in disorderly or disruptive conduct, and engaging in an act of physical violence against any person on restricted building or grounds while armed with a dangerous or deadly weapon.

Palmer was taken into custody by the FBI yesterday and, was released on bond at a detention hearing today in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida.

The affidavit in support of the criminal complaint against Palmer alleges that publicly available video shows Palmer’s assault on U.S. Capitol Police and Metropolitan Police Department officers who were assisting the U.S. Capitol Police in securing the Lower West Terrace of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. 

According to the affidavit, the publicly available footage shows Palmer — wearing a red hat, face mask, and American flag jacket — throwing a wooden plank at the officers, followed by spraying the contents of a fire extinguisher at the officers, and then throwing the fire extinguisher at them. FBI officials say footage from security cameras inside the Lower West Terrace tunnel provided by the USCP shows that Palmer picked the fire extinguisher up from the ground and threw it at the officers a second time.

This case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Counterterrorism Section of the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Security Division, with assistance from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida.  The case is being investigated by the FBI’s Tampa and Washington Field Offices, along with the Metropolitan Police Department and the United States Capitol Police.

A criminal complaint is a formal accusation of criminal conduct for purposes of establishing probable cause, not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.

The FBI is looking for individuals who may have incited or promoted violence of any kind. Anyone with digital material or tips can call 1-800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324) or submit images or videos at fbi.gov/wanted/capitol-violence.

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