2 plead guilty to throwing Molotov cocktail at NYPD car during May 2020 protests

They threw a lit Molotov cocktail into an unoccupied NYPD car in May 2020.

October 20, 2021, 1:45 PM

Two attorneys pleaded guilty Wednesday to throwing a lit Molotov cocktail into an unoccupied vehicle belonging to the New York Police Department in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, during May 2020 demonstrations to protest the murder of George Floyd.

Colinford Mattis, an associate at Pryor Cashman, and Urooj Rahman, a public interest lawyer, exchanged text messages the night of May 30, 2020, that prosecutors quoted during the plea hearing.

"I hope they burn everything down. Need to burn all the police stations down," assistant U.S. Attorney Ian Richardson quoted one message saying.

"Set a police car on fire after a lot of fights and check my story to see the trajectory of burning," Richardson said in quoting another message from Rahman.

The reply text from Mattis said, "Go burn down 1PP," an apparent reference to NYPD headquarters at One Police Plaza.

"What is your plea to count seven?" U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan asked.

"Guilty," Rahman replied.

"I plead guilty your honor," Mattis said.

PHOTO: A protester raises his arms during a march against the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, in Brooklyn, New York, May 30, 2020.
A protester raises his arms during a march against the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, in Brooklyn, New York, May 30, 2020.
Jeenah Moon/Reuters

"Are you aware you are all but certain to be disbarred as a result of this plea?" the judge asked.

"Yes, Your Honor," both attorneys said.

Rahman and Mattis will be sentenced on Feb. 8, 2022, and would each face up to 10 years in prison if the judge applies a terrorism enhancement, Richardson said.

"On May 30, 2020, I knowingly possessed a destructive device, a Molotov cocktail," Rahman said. "My actions occurred on a night of civil protest in Brooklyn following the murder of George Floyd. I deeply regret my actions."

PHOTO: Colinford Mattis and Urooj Rahman are pictured in photos taken by authorities following their arrests in New York, May 30, 2020.
Colinford Mattis and Urooj Rahman are pictured in photos taken by authorities following their arrests in New York, May 30, 2020.
U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York via Reuters

Mattis expressed similar regret.

"On the night of May 30, 2020, I knowingly possessed a destructive device," Mattis told Judge Cogan. "I deeply regret my conduct and wish I had made better choices on that night."

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