Two New York lawyers who threw Molotov cocktail into a police car during George Floyd protests appear at Brooklyn court to take plea deal which could see them face REDUCED sentence of less than two years in jail
- Colinford Mattis, 35, and Urooj Rahman, 33, plead guilty to conspiracy charges punishable by no more than five years imprisonment on Thursday
- Federal prosecutors agreed to recommend a prison sentence of 18 to 24 months in return for today’s plea
- The pair was arrested amid clashes between protesters and police on May 30, 2020, after they torched an NYPD van with a Molotov cocktail
Two New York lawyers who torched an NYPD van with a Molotov cocktail during the George Floyd protests in 2020 appeared in a Brooklyn court on Thursday to accept a plea deal that could drastically reduce their sentences.
Colinford Mattis, 35, and Urooj Rahman, 33, withdrew earlier guilty pleas to charges of unlawfully possessing Molotov cocktails, and plead guilty to conspiracy charges punishable by no more than five years imprisonment.
The pair were initially facing up to life in prison when they were first arrested in 2020, which was then reduced to 10 years in October, 2021.
Federal prosecutors agreed to recommend a prison sentence of 18 to 24 months in return for today’s plea.
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Urooj Rahman, 33, (left) walks out of the Brooklyn Federal court on Thursday after taking a plea deal for torching an NYPD van during the George Floyd protests in 2020
Colinford Mattis, 35, (right) leaving the Brooklyn Federal court on Thursday after taking a plea deal for the 2020 torching of an NYPD van
Urooj Rahman clutching a Molotov cocktail fashioned out of a Bud Light bottle on the night she used a similar device to torch an NYPD van
The pair was arrested amid clashes between protesters and police on May 30, 2020, during an eruption of demonstrations following Floyd’s killing by Minnesota police officer Derek Chauvin.
Surveillance cameras recorded Rahman, a human rights lawyer, hurling a molotov cocktail bomb into a parked police vehicle, setting fire to its interior. No one was injured in the attack, but the vehicle was severely damaged.
Officers arrested the lawyers a short time later and said they found a lighter, a Bud Light beer bottle filled with toilet paper and a gasoline tank in the back of a minivan driven by Mattis, a corporate attorney. Prosecutors allege the lawyers planned to distribute and throw other Molotov cocktails.
An NYPD van which was set ablaze in Brooklyn during the May 2020 George Floyd protests. It is not clear if it is the same vehicle that the lawyers hit with Molotovs
A burned out NYPD van after the protest in May 2020. It is not clear if it is the same vehicle that the lawyers hit with Molotovs
Urooj Rahman, (left) and Colinford Mattis (right) after their arrest in 2020 for firebombing an NYPD van during George Floyd protests in New York City
Boss of the NYPD union Patrick Lynch, (center) has condemned the short sentences of Rahman and Mattis
Initially, Mattis and Rahman were looking at a 40-year mandatory minimum count and life imprisonment when they were arrested in 2020.
The government’s prosecution plan then shifted to a 10-year sentence with terrorism enhancement, based on an October 2021 Brooklyn federal court hearing where Mattis and Rahman each pleaded guilty to one count of possessing and making a destructive device.
The pair have spent most of the last two years in home confinement.
News of the lawyers’ reduced sentences was met with outrage by Patrick J. Lynch, President of the New York City Police Benevolent Association, who said the light sentences will embolden ‘anti-police radicals.’
‘The judge must reject this request. There is absolutely no justification for lowballing the sentence for an anti-police terrorist attack,’ Lynch said on Fox News.
‘It’s bad enough that these dangerous criminals have been allowed to sit at home for the past two years,’ Lynch said.
‘Handing them a below-guidelines sentence would give a green light to other anti-police radicals who seek to advance their cause through violence. The judge must reject this request.’
U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan said he was not bound by the sentencing recommendations under the new plea deal, but would take it into account when he sentences the two attorneys this fall.
Urooj Rahman leaving the Brooklyn Federal court on Thursday. She agreed to a plea deal, with federal prosecutors agreeing to recommend a sentence of 18 to 24 months in prison
Colinford Mattis leaving the Brooklyn Federal court on Thursday. He drove the getaway car after he and Rahman tossed a molotov cocktail into an NYPD van