Three New Yorkers, including two lawyers, were indicted for arson and the use of explosives after they allegedly threw Molotov cocktails at NYPD vehicles during a night of peaceful George Floyd protests on May 29.
The seven-count indictment charged Samantha Shader, 27, and attorneys Colinford Mattis, 32, and Urooj Rahman, 31, for allegedly carrying out the attacks which were caught on video footage.
The defendants are charged with the use of explosives, arson, use of explosives to commit a felony, arson conspiracy, use of a destructive device, civil disorder, and making or possessing a destructive device.
Shader is seen in another image taken from footage of her allegedly lighting a Molotov cocktail
The footage later shows her throwing the lit, homemade explosive at a cop vehicle
The indictments were handed up by the grand jury in federal court in Central Islip, New York on Thursday. Convictions on the all the charges could lead to life sentences for all three, authorities say.
The federal charges come as protests against police brutality continue across the nation in the wake of the death of Floyd, a 46-year-old black father-of-two, who was killed during an arrest.
Floyd was alleged to have passed a counterfeit $20 bill to buy cigarettes when Chauvin pressed down on Floyd’s neck with his knee for almost 9 minutes, causing his death.
NYPD Commissioner Dermot F. Shea spoke out about the accusations made against Shader, Mattis and Rahman.
‘Violence, like that alleged here, not only endangers our NYPD officers but threatens the constitutional right of people to peacefully protest. These indictments by our federal partners reflect our joint condemnation of the kind of isolated acts a just society can never tolerate,’ stated
Shea was among authorities announcing the indictments today.
NYPD Commissioner Dermot F. Shea spoke out about the accusations made against Shader, Mattis and Rahman. ‘Violence, like that alleged here, not only endangers our NYPD officers but threatens the constitutional right of people to peacefully protest, he says
Richard P. Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York says the defendants allegedly threw the homemade explosives at NYPD vehicles ‘without regard for the potentially deadly consequences.’
‘Such criminal acts should never be confused with legitimate protest. Those who carry out attacks on NYPD Officers or vehicles are not protesters, they are criminals, and they will be treated as such.’
Court filings charging Mattis and Rahman say NYPD surveillance cameras shot video footate of Rahman allegedly throwing a Molotov cocktail at a cop vehicle parked outside the 88th Precinct in Brooklyn’s Fort Green section.
Court filings charging Mattis and Rahman say NYPD surveillance cameras shot video footate of Rahman allegedly throwing a Molotov cocktail at a cop vehicle parked outside the 88th Precinct in Brooklyn’s Fort Green section. Rahman is pictured in an image from the footage
He and Rahman were apprehended after they were alleged to have fled in a tan minvan after the incident. Mattis was driving.
Inside the vehicle, according the filings, cops found ingredients for making Molotov cocktails, including a bottle filled with what was suspected to be gasoline, toilet paper, several more bottles, a lighter and a gasoline canister.
Court filings from the charges against Shader say video footage shot by a witness shows her lighting a Molotov cocktail and tossing it at a NYPD vehicle occupied by four officers. Two of the vehicle’s windows were shattered. Shader was apprehended by the cops after she attempted to flee.
FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Sweeney, also on hand for the announcement of the indictments says the alleged criminal behavior of the defendants ‘risked lives, destroyed equipment that exists to serve the community, siphoned response resources, and created a threat to those who had every right to safely assemble and express their opinion.’
The US attorney’s National Security and Cybercrime Section is prosecuting the federal case. Assistant US Attorneys Ian C. Richardson and Jonathan Algor are the prosecutors.
The three defendants are next in court on June 25 at 11am before Chief Magistrate Judge Cheryl L. Pollak.