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Two Lawyers Arrested in Molotov Cocktail Attack on Police car in Brooklyn
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Two Brooklyn lawyers were charged with taking part in a Molotov cocktail attack on a New York police patrol car early Saturday morning during protests over the death of George Floyd.

 Federal authorities identified the New York lawyers involved in the attack as Colinford King Mattis, 32, a Princeton educated associate at the midsize law firm of Pryor Cashman LLP, who is currently furloughed and Urooj Rahman, 31, a human rights lawyer. 

The lawyers were driving around in the minivan near a clash between police and protesters, when Rahman allegedly hurled the Molotov cocktail at an NYPD vehicle, outside the 88th Precinct stationhouse in Fort Greene. An NYPD surveillance camera recorded Rahman climbing out of a tan 2015 Chrysler Town and Country minivan driven by Mattis and moving toward the patrol car, the complaint said. As she got close, the attorney lit a fuse hanging out of a Bud Light beer bottle and tossed it through an already broken window of the police car, igniting its console. She then returned to the minivan and the pair fled, the complaint said. 

  
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The vehicle was unoccupied when the Molotov cocktail ignited, and no one was injured, the authorities said. The attack left the dashboard of the police car charred after a night of violent clashes between police and demonstrators.

The officers saw the attorney hurl the Molotov cocktail and followed the two lawyers as they tried to flee the scene. A patrol car stopped them several blocks away, officials said.

Inside the van,  the police saw materials for making more Molotov cocktails — a bottle filled with toilet paper and what was believed to be gasoline inside and a lighter, the complaint said.

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 Both attorneys were arrested shortly after the attack and charged in a criminal complaint filed in federal court in Brooklyn.

Mattis, graduated from Princeton University in 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology and earned a J.D. from New York University Law School in 2016. The Ivy-league educated attorney began working in 2018 as an associate in the corporate group at Pryor Cashman, where he advises private and public companies, their executives and boards on joint ventures, financing and corporate governance and mergers and acquisitions, among other matters.



Ronald H. Shechtman, the Managing Partner at Pryor Cashman, said in a statement Mattis had been furloughed from the firm in April and that his status would be reviewed by the firm this week.

While we were already living in fraught times, the terrible situation around the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis has added painful stress to our lives,” Shechtman said. “As we confront critical issues around historic and ongoing racism and inequity in our society, I am saddened to see this young man allegedly involved in the worst kind of reaction to our shared outrage over what had occurred,” the statement said.

As of Sunday, his profile on the law firm’s website was deleted.  

Matis is also a member of Community Board 5 in East New York, the Brooklyn neighbourhood where he lives.

‘This is shocking news to me. The allegation does surprise me because that doesn’t sound like him,’ Andre Mitchell, president of Community Board 5, said to the Daily News. 

Rahman graduated from Fordham University in New York and was identified as a human right lawyer in a Facebook post about  a talk she was scheduled to give to a Muslim Group and was to discuss  “Love of the Earth.”

The super of Rahman’s building in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn described her as ‘an angel’ who recently lost her legal job.

‘I can’t believe it. I’m stunned. This kid? She’s an angel,’ George Raleigh told Daily Mail.

On Monday, U.S. District Judge Margo Brodie ordered the release of Matis over the objection of prosecutors in the Eastern District of New York.

Brodie upheld U.S. Magistrate Judge Steven Gold’s ruling that Colinford Mattis, could be released to confinement in his Brooklyn home on a $250,000 bond. Prosecutors argued that Mattis should be detained because he had “not demonstrated himself to be a rational person” early Saturday, when he allegedly drove a van from which another attorney, 31-year-old Urooj Rahman, allegedly emerged to throw a Molotov cocktail at an unoccupied NYPD vehicle.

“The conduct was reckless, it was violent, it was completely lawless,” Brodie said, but she noted that both defendants seemed to have stable lives and support from their families and friends.



 

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