The 31-year-old Brooklyn lawyer who faces decades in prison for tossing a Molotov cocktail into an empty New York Police Department van during the George Floyd protests has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Urooj Rahman, a human rights lawyer who has been remanded to the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn since her arrest on May 30, entered the not guilty plea through her attorney, Paul Shechtman.
Shechtman was representing his client on a teleconference arraignment with Brooklyn federal Magistrate Judge Cheryl Pollack, according to the New York Post.
During the call, several supporters of Rahman were heard flooding the line and loudly cheering her on.
‘Love you, Rooj – stay strong!’ one supporter said.
Urooj Rahman (left), 31, was arrested along with another lawyer, Colinford Mattis (right), in the early morning hours of May 30
Court filings charging Mattis and Rahman say NYPD surveillance cameras shot video footage of Rahman allegedly throwing a Molotov cocktail at a cop vehicle parked outside the 88th Precinct in Brooklyn’s Fort Green section. Rahman is pictured in an image from the footage
‘Keep your head up, Urooj,’ another supporter was heard saying.
Another commented: ‘Love you, Aunt Roojie.’
Rahman responded: ‘Love you guys, too.’
As the court proceeding ended, several supporters could be heard saying: ‘Love you guys, too.’
Rahman stayed on the line, tell her fans; ‘Thank you for all your support.
‘I love you, Mom,’ she added.
Rahman and another lawyer, Colinford Mattis, were arrested in the early morning hours of May 30.
Samantha Shader, 27, was also arrested that same night after she was caught on camera hurling a Molotov cocktail at an NYPD van with four officers inside in Crown Heights
Court filings charging Mattis and Rahman say NYPD surveillance cameras shot video footage of Rahman allegedly throwing a Molotov cocktail at a cop vehicle parked outside the 88th Precinct in Brooklyn’s Fort Green section.
Mattis was behind the wheel of a minivan and Rahman was in the passenger seat when she allegedly hurled an improvised firebomb into a marked, empty NYPD van during an otherwise peaceful protest.
The firebomb caused damage to the console.
Authorities caught up to Mattis’ car and arrested him and Rahman a short time after the incident.
According to court filings, cops searched Mattis’ vehicle and found ingredients for making Molotov cocktails, including a bottle filled with what was suspected to be gasoline, toilet paper, several more bottles, a lighter and a gasoline canister.
Rahman’s social media shows she graduated from Fordham University in New York.
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 said.
Mattis lives in East New York and graduated from Princeton University and New York University law school in 2016, according to his Linkedin page.
He’s an associate with Pryor Cashman, a corporate law firm in Times Square where he specializes in start-ups, and is a member of Community Board 5 in East New York.
If convicted on all counts, they face up to 45 years in prison.
Shader is seen in another image taken from footage of her allegedly lighting a Molotov cocktail
The footage later shows her throwing the lit, homemade explosive at a cop vehicle
A magistrate judge had freed the two lawyers on bail, but they were detained again after federal prosecutors in Brooklyn appealed the decision.
The 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments last week.
Fifty-six former federal prosecutors urged the court in a written brief to reject the government’s efforts to keep the attorneys behind bars as they await trial, calling it ‘contrary both to the law and to our collective decades of experience.’
Rahman is a graduate of Fordham Law School
Prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney´s Office in Brooklyn defended their request to keep the lawyers jailed pending trial, saying they violated their oaths and crossed a sacred line by targeting the police.
‘These were lawyers, in particular, who had every reason to know what they were doing was wrong,’ Assistant US Attorney David Kessler told a federal appeals court Tuesday.
‘Committing these crimes required essentially a fundamental change in mindset.’
The appellate panel did not rule on whether to release the lawyers on bail but expressed horror at the firebombing, with one judge calling ‘the whole case unimaginable.’
Several former prosecutors not involved with the case told The Associated Press the prosecution appeared to be based more on politics than public safety.
‘The government seems to be trying to do everything it can to punish people charged in these protests as harshly as possible, and they´re going way overboard here,’ said Duncan Levin, a former prosecutor who worked for the U.S. Attorney´s Office in Brooklyn.
‘This case should have been charged in state court,’ he added.
Mattis lives in East New York and graduated from Princeton University and New York University law school in 2016, according to his Linkedin page
‘This seems more than anything like scare tactics and trumped-up charges by the federal government.’
Lucy Lang, a former assistant district attorney in Manhattan, called the mandatory prison sentences extreme and ‘a relic of a bygone era of draconian policies that have hurt families and communities for decades.’
A third suspect, Samantha Shader, was arrested for throwing a lit Molotov cocktail that same night at a parked NYPD van with four police officers sitting inside during a protest in the Crown Heights area of Brooklyn.
Shader, a 27-year-old resident of the Catskills region, was seen on video throwing the device, though it did not ignite.
A police source told the Post that Shader used toilet paper instead of a rag, preventing the gas from catching fire and causing serious damage.
Shader is a ukulele-playing street musician who has run afoul of the law in more than one quarter of the states in the nation.
Prosecutors said Shader had been arrested in 11 states prior to the bombing incident — but that wasn’t even the complete list.
DailyMail.com has unearthed arrests in both Oregon and upstate New York to add to the one-woman crime spree tally.
All three face seven counts including 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.