In his first interview since public outcry over his killing of the beloved Cecil the Lion, Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer insisted that he had done nothing wrong and said he will now return to work.
“Everything was done properly,” attorney Joe Friedberg told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “This was a legal hunt for a lion in Zimbabwe. And because of the professionalism of the people who had to help him, a lion was taken.”
The dentist said he would be returning to work on Tuesday. “I have a lot of staff members, and I’m a little heartbroken at the disruption in their lives … And I’m a health professional. I need to get back to my staff and my patients, and they want me back. That’s why I’m back.”
Local police said they would not be dedicating resources to protect Palmer’s staff or office as he returns.
Palmer also said the whole ordeal had been particularly difficult for his wife and daughter, who he said had been threatened on social media. “I don’t understand that level of humanity to come after people not involved at all,” he said.
Zimbabwe officials still demand that Palmer be extradited back to the country to face charges for the suspected crime against protected wildlife, but many doubt this will happen.
The death of the lion over the summer caused outrage on social media, and many said more people were upset over the lion than people who had died at the hands of police. It has also inspired some dark humor, including a Walter Palmer-inspired Halloween costume.