NYC lawyers face federal charges for trying to firebomb NYPD vehicles

Authorities have filed criminal complaints in federal court in New York City against three people for allegedly causing damage by fire and explosives to police vehicles outside a precinct in Brooklyn, including a pair of attorneys.

Colinford Mattis, 32, Urooj Rahman, 31, and Samantha Shader, 27 all face federal charges of using improvised explosive devices more commonly known as “Molotov cocktails” to damage and destroy NYPD vehicles, according to a statement from the Justice Department on Sunday, the Daily Caller reported.


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Mattis, a corporate associate attorney at Pryor Cashman LLP located in Times Square, and Rahman, also a lawyer, with arrested around 1:00 a.m. Saturday morning after police saw them on video surveillance allegedly throwing Molotov cocktails at a police vehicle outside the NYPD’s 88th precinct, a federal complaint says. 

The Daily Caller adds: 

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 the New York Daily News. Rahman was in the passenger seat.

“These defendants are charged with  attacking the  New  YorkCity  Police Department while  itsPolice  Officers  are risking  their  lives to  protect the  Constitutional rights  of protesters and the  safety  of  us  all. 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.”

In a separate complaint, Samantha Shader, from upstate New York, faces charges after a witness video provided to police showed her allegedly lighting a Molotov cocktail and then throwing it at a police vehicle occupied by four officers. 

The Justice Department said she later confessed to the incident. All four officers managed to escape the vehicle before it eventually ignited, reports noted.

If convicted, each of the suspects faces a minimum of five years in federal prison and a maximum of 20 years.

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“When you conduct a violent attack that breaks federal law, the FBI  New  York office, along with our  NYPD and Department  of  Justice partners, will  move  with speed to hold you accountable.  Behavior like the attacks charged here puts our entire community - protestors and first responders alike  -  in danger, and we  will simply not  allow  it  to go unaddressed.  The consequences for conducting this alleged  attack, and any similar  activity planned for  the future, will  be severe,” said FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeney.

Adds NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea: “Molotov Cocktails  are violent tools  of  individuals looking  to  inflict harm and damage  our  city.  Crimes  like these  are  devastating to  their targets  and also  to  the protestors  and their right to  frees speech  that police  are working  hard  to protect.    It  is reassuring  that the U.S. Attorney in Brooklyn  has taken this  case.  I’m confident  that  the severest penalties under  the  law will be sought.”