Dr. Walter Palmer returns to media spectacle, fierce protest

Image 1 of 7

Just after 7 a.m. Tuesday morning, Dr. Walter Palmer -- perhaps the world’s most despised, most controversial big game trophy hunter -- returned to work at his Bloomington, Minnesota dental office. It was a media spectacle. Cameras from across the globe descended, but the dentist said nothing.

The protesters weren’t nearly as quiet. The sign-toting, anti-trophy hunting group was merciless, calling him a “murdering terrorist.” They demanded Palmer be extradited to Zimbabwe and chided his patients as they came and went.

Protesters asked to watch their language

Private security kept watch as Palmer popped out for lunch, and Bloomington police had officers on site all day. At one point, law enforcement asked the protesters to calm the rhetoric and watch their language with a daycare center operating right next door. Protester Cathy Pierce wasn’t going to be silenced.

“He’s a killer. He’s a murderer,” Pierce said. “Poor Cecil."

“As far as our commitment to the scene, we will simply be here to accommodate traffic flow and make sure this isn’t a disruption to the people who work and live in the area,” said Mike Hartley of the Bloomington Police Department. “Hopefully this story moves on in the coming days.”

Patients harassed

“I’m offended,” said Palmer supporter Tom Dressel. “Who are they to tell me who I can and can’t see?”

No need for attorney

Attorney Joe Friedberg, who acted as Palmer's consultant in an interview with the Associated Press, said he hasn’t heard anything about domestic or international investigations since early August. Friedberg added he wasn't Palmer's attorney, nor did Palmer need one.

"If some governmental agency or investigative unit would make a claim that he violated some law then we'd talk about it," he said in the interview.

The hunt

Cecil the lion has been touted as the most beloved animal in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park. Palmer paid to kill the 13-year-old lion in early July outside the confines of the park after hunters had apparently removed and tried to destroy Cecil's collar, which was fitted with GPS collar as part of research for Oxford University. Palmer said he shot the lion using an arrow from a compound bow, but it didn’t die right away. Cecil reportedly was killed with a gun after 40 hours, but Palmer said the lion was tracked down the next day and killed with an arrow.

Palmer said in a prepared statement weeks ago that he had trusted his guides to "ensure a legal hunt," and contends he had no idea the lion was a "known, local favorite." He echoed that sentiment in the interview. He said he felt safe to return to work and had the support of his staff and patients, but he didn’t say where he has been for the last 6 weeks, nor did he disclose the security measures he’s taken for himself or his family.