Three Individuals, Two Of Whom Are NYC Lawyers, Face Federal Charges For Throwing Molotov Cocktails At NYPD Police Vehicles

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Two criminal complaints were filed in a Brooklyn federal court charging three individuals, including two New York lawyers, with causing damage by fire and explosives to a police vehicle outside a Brooklyn precinct.

Colinford Mattis, 32, Urooj Rahman, 31, and Samantha Shader, 27, will face federal charges after they used improvised incendiary devices commonly known as “Molotov Cocktails” to damage and destroy New York City Police Department (NYPD) vehicles, according to a statement released by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) on Sunday.

Mattis, a corporate associate at Pryor Cashman LLP located in Times Square per New York Daily News, and Rahman, also an attorney, were arrested around 1:00 a.m. early Saturday morning after they were observed by officers and caught on video surveillance using “Molotov Cocktails” to light fire to a police vehicle outside the NYPD’s 88th precinct, according to a federal complaint.

Mattis and Rahman were chased down by police after they observed the incident. During the arrest, police found items used to build a molotov cocktail, including a lighter, a bottle filled with toilet paper, a liquid suspected to be gasoline, and a gasoline tank inside the tan minivan that Mattis was driving, according to New York Daily News. Rahman was in the passenger seat.

“No rational human being can ever believe that hurling firebombs at Police Officers and vehicles is justified.” Richard P. Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New
York, said according to the press release. “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.” (RELATED: NBC Bans Reporters From Using The Word ‘Riot’ In Coverage Of Minnesota Riots)

The remains of a scorched police vehicle lie vandalized after Samantha Shader, 27, threw a molotov cocktail at this van (Photo by THOMAS URBAIN/AFP via Getty Images)

In a separate federal complaint, Samantha Shader, an upstate New York resident, was charged after a video recorded by a witness, and provided to police, captured her igniting a molotov cocktail and throwing it at a NYPD vehicle occupied by four police officers.

She later admitted to the crime, according to the DOJ press release. All four officers were able to exit the vehicle unharmed before it caught on fire, according to FOX 5 New York.

Charges in the complaints are allegations and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty. If convicted, each defendant faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years and up to 20 years’ imprisonment, according to the DOJ press statement.

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