Two attorneys arrested for allegedly being involved in a Molotov cocktail attack on a New York City Police Department car returned to jail on Friday after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit granted prosecutors’ request for an emergency stay.
Urooj Rahman and Colinford Mattis were arrested during a wave of violence and unrest that swept the city following the death of George Floyd, a man who died in police custody in Minneapolis. No one was hurt in the alleged attack, officials said.
Rahman and Mattis could now face as many as 20 years in prison on federal charges, prosecutors told the New York Post. Video footage allegedly showed Rahman with a Palestinian keffiyeh covering her face, while Mattis was behind the wheel.
The local U.S. Attorney office wrote that “attorneys Colinford Mattis and Urooj Rahman charged in Molotov cocktail attack on @NYPDnews are now back in federal custody after the U.S. Court of Appeals reversed bail decision by the District Court.”
After their arrest, a judge released them on bail on June 2.
“One night of behavior is not a basis on which to reject somebody’s ability to make rational decisions,” US Magistrate Judge Steven Gold said last week.
Friends told news outlets that Mattis had worked at the Pryor Cashman corporate law firm, while Rahman is a human rights lawyer.
But prosecutor Ian Richardson noted in a hearing that Mattis “risked everything, everything, to drive around in a car with Molotov cocktails attacking police vehicles. That is not the action of a rational person,” the NY Post reported.
Assistant US Attorney David Kessler said Rahman and Mattis made bombs for “for others to do the same.”
Rahman was interviewed before the alleged incident, professing the need to carry out acts of violence to transform society.
“This[expletive] won’t ever stop unless we take it all down and that’s why anger is being expressed tonight in this way,” she said. “People are angry because the police are never held accountable. The only way they hear us is through violence, through the means that they use. … You’ve got to use the master’s tools.’”
Friends and family told the paper that Mattis graduated from Princeton University and New York University’s Law School. He worked jobs at Manhattan firms like Holland & Knight and Pryor Cashman, while also working for the San Francisco mayor’s office, Microsoft, and other firms.
“Colin was your average kid from East New York who loved his city,” his friend Miriam Camara told the Post.
The Washington Free Beacon and Fox News reported Washington-based lawyer Salmah Rizvi, who worked under President Barack Obama, bailed Rahman out of bail.
A court transcript from Rahman’s Monday arraignment shows Rizvi agreed to sign a bond.
“Urooj Rahman is my best friend and I am an associate at the law firm Ropes & Gray in Washington, D.C. I earn $255,000 a year,” she said.