The “Hapless neo-Nazi of the Month” award goes to Paul Anthony Palmer, Jr.. The former Pittsburgh police officer was sentenced June 20 to 52 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to possessing an unregistered explosive device—namely the homemade bomb that blew off Palmer’s left hand last May.
According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, police responded to Palmer’s mobile home park after neighbors called 911 to report a “kaboom type” explosion.
When officers arrived, the Post-Gazette reported, “They found that windows had been blown out of the trailer, and an awning ripped off. Mr. Palmer was sitting on a step out front with singed hair, burns to his upper chest and a severely damaged left hand, which later had to be amputated.”
In conducting a search of the premises, investigators found “numerous components for improvised explosive devices, including tubes, black powder, red phosphorous and a green pyrotechnic fuse.”
They also discovered a large amount of white supremacist literature, including 15 Aryan Nations pamphlets and two flags bearing the neo-Nazi organization’s insignia. Investigators further noted that Palmer had several Aryan Nations tattoos.
Palmer, 39, pleaded guilty and faced up to 63 months in prison. His lawyer argued at last week’s sentencing hearing that Palmer deserved a break because he’d served more than 10 years on the Pittsburgh police force. This means he’ll be a marked man behind bars, his lawyer said, especially since Palmer only has one hand for self-defense.
But the story behind Palmer’s departure from the Pittsburgh P.D. is hardly one to inspire leniency. Palmer was fired after he was convicted in 2006 of aggravated assault for firing seven bullets into a semi-trailer in a road rage incident while off duty.
Still, the judge cut Palmer a little slack, shaving 11 months off the maximum sentence. “There’s already been some punishment imposed, not by the court, but by himself,” the judge said.
Sometime after the accidental detonation, Palmer had yet another Aryan Nations symbol tattooed over the amputee nub of his left forearm, making him a living testament to the group’s motto: “Violence solves everything.”