Two New York-based attorneys have been charged in federal court for an alleged molotov cocktail attack on a New York Police Department vehicle. Colinford Mattis, 32, and Urooj Rahman, 31, are charged with a count each of causing damage by fire and explosives, according to court documents released Sunday by The Department of Justice. Their case was announced alongside a similar but unrelated prosecution against Catskill resident Samantha Shader, 27.
“These defendants are charged with attacking the New York City Police Department while its Police Officers are risking their lives to protect the Constitutional rights of protesters and the safety of us all,” United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Richard P. Donoghue said in a statement. “No rational human being can ever believe that hurling firebombs at Police Officers and vehicles is justified. The Eastern District of New York will do everything in its power to protect those who protect us all, and we will ensure that criminals who use the camouflage of lawful protest to launch violent attacks against Police Officers face justice.”
Authorities say Rahman tossed a molotov cocktail through the already-broken window of an NYPD vehicle parked within the 88th Precinct in the Fort Greene of Brooklyn on early Saturday morning shortly before 1 a.m.. Mattis was the getaway driver, authorities said.
Video surveillance from the NYPD’s 88th Precinct captured the events. After the defendant RAHMAN approached the NYPD vehicle, she lit and threw an incendiary device, comprised of a bottle containing an incendiary chemical (sometimes referred to as a “Molotov cocktail” device) into the NYPD vehicle through a previously broken window, which set fire to the console of the NYPD vehicle. The defendant RAHMAN then returned to the tan minivan, which fled the scene.
Police said they saw this, and a patrol vehicle managed to stop their minivan. According to authorities, cops found “in plain view several precursor items to build a Molotov cocktail” inside of the vehicle around the passenger seat and in the back. Items allegedly included a lighter, bottle filled with toilet paper, and a gasoline tank.
Update: Along with Samantha Shader, @EDNYnews says a man and woman, Colinford Mattis and Urooj Rahman of #Brooklyn are charged in a separate case for throwing a molotov cocktail at #NYPD vehicle near the 88th precinct. All 3 have a court appearance Monday. #GeorgeFloydProtests https://t.co/swBCq4g95P
— Dean Meminger (@DeanMeminger) May 31, 2020
In the neighborhood of Crown Heights, Shader allegedly threw a molotov cocktail at a police vehicle occupied by four officers. Cops said it was caught on video by a bystander. No injuries were reported.
“The Molotov cocktail shattered two windows of the NYPD vehicle on impact and caused internal damage to the NYPD vehicle,” authorities said. Cops chased her, and caught her, according to the criminal complaint. Shader allegedly admitted to the crime after waiving her Miranda rights in voice and writing.
Online federal records currently don’t show the three defendant’s cases, and do not name attorneys of record.
Mattis’ page on Pryor Cashman is down as of Sunday evening.
Last night, Associate Colinford Mattis received the Legal Team Award from @herjusticenyc, a nonprofit that provides #probono counsel to women living in poverty in #NYC. Colinford fought through 2 rounds of appeals to help his client secure a dramatic increase in child support. pic.twitter.com/4n2gbJpu1K
— Pryor Cashman (@PryorCashman) March 1, 2019
A managing partner for the firm said that Mattis has been furloughed since April amid the COVID-19 pandemic. They plan on reviewing his employment as they learn more this week. The firm only know what has been said in the press.
“While we were already living in fraught times, the terrible situation around the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis has added painful stress to our lives,” Pryor Cashman managing partner Ronald Shechtman said, according to The New York Law Journal. “As we confront critical issues around historic and ongoing racism and inequity in our society, I am saddened to see this young man allegedly involved in the worst kind of reaction to our shared outrage over what had occurred.”
Each of the three defendants are scheduled for an initial court appearance on teleconference Monday, authorities said.
Protests popped up nationwide after Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was seen on video kneeling on the neck of George Floyd. As seen on video, Floyd became unresponsive after pleading for the cop to get off him. Authorities dragged his limp body onto a gurney. He was declared dead later that day. The situation fueled an ongoing national debate on how law enforcement treats people of color, especially black men and women.
[Screengrab connected to Shader allegation via LLNNYC / ABC 7 NY]
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