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Lawyers who targeted NYPD with Molotov cocktails hit with new federal charges, face life in prison

'Such criminal acts should never be confused with legitimate protest'

Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

Two Brooklyn lawyers, and a third upstate New York woman, accused of targeting the NYPD with Molotov cocktails during protests last month were indicted in federal court on Friday. They face life in prison if convicted on every charge.

Lawyers Urooj Rahman, 31, and Colinford Mattis, 32, are accused of throwing a Molotov cocktail at a parked NYPD vehicle during violent protests in late May.

NYPD surveillance recorded Rahman allegedly tossing the incendiary device before fleeing the area. Police later pursued the individuals and arrested them upon discovering the necessary components for assembling Molotov cocktails inside their vehicle.

Colinford Mattis (left), Urooj Rahman (right). Image source: U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York

Meanwhile, Samantha Shader, 27, is accused of targeting an NYPD vehicle occupied by four police officers with her own Molotov cocktail. She, too, was apprehended after attempting to flee.

No officers were injured in the attacks. Shader's incendiary device did not ignite, while the one allegedly thrown by Rahman and Mattis set an empty NYPD vehicle ablaze.

The seven-count indictment charges each defendant 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," according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York.

"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," U.S. Attorney for the EDNY Richard Donoghue said in a press release.

"A little more than a week after their arrests, Shader, Mattis, and Rahman have been charged with seven-count indictments in response to their potentially deadly attacks," FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Sweeney said. "Their criminal behavior 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."

As TheBlaze reported, Rahman's bail was secured by Salmah Rizvi, a former high-level intelligence official who worked in the Obama administration.

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