NEW YORK (June 7, 2022)—Two New York lawyers charged with throwing a Molotov cocktail at an empty city police car during protests over George Floyd’s death pleaded guilty to new charges on Thursday, part of a deal in which prosecutors recommended shorter sentences.
Urooj Rahman, 33, and Colinford Mattis, 34, had pleaded guilty last October to possessing a destructive device and expressed regret, but fought federal prosecutors’ effort to brand them as terrorists, more than doubling their potential sentences to 10 years.
Colinford Mattis and Urooj Rahman were well-compensated attorneys in their early thirties when they joined the protesting mob in May 2020. Rahman was caught on tape throwing the firebomb into an unoccupied police car, and Mattis was arrested with more such improvised explosives in his car and was videotaped trying to hand them out to others. These are gravely serious crimes, more so than those committed by all but a tiny handful (at most) of the people charged in connection with January 6. An unapologetic Rahman told reporters later, “The only way they hear us is through violence.”
Under revised agreements, the defendants were charged with conspiracy to commit arson and possess an explosive device, with prosecutors recommending sentences of 18 to 24 months.
They entered pleas to the new charges before U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan in Brooklyn, and said they understood they would lose their law licenses as a result of their guilty pleas.
“I wish I had made different and better choices that night,” Mattis told Cogan. Rahman also said she regretted her actions.
During May 2020 protests in Brooklyn after a white Minneapolis policeman murdered Floyd, who was Black, Rahman threw a gasoline-filled bottle through the police car’s already-broken window and fled in a minivan driven by Mattis, according to prosecutors.