The lawyer who firebombed the NYPD car at protest gets 15 months

A Brooklyn lawyer who firebombed a police car during a George Floyd protest in 2020 was sentenced to 15 months in prison Friday by a judge who reminded him that she’s not in the West Bank or Belfast.

Urooj Rahman, who pleaded guilty to lighting a gasoline-filled bottle of Bud Light and throwing it at a police car, said she regretted her actions, but her remorse was not enough to avoid jail time and $30,137 in restitution to the NYPD for the damage she caused.

Urooj Rahman holding a black and white striped scarf close to her face with one hand, and a homemade firebomb with another, as she prepared to toss the incendiary device out of the passenger-side window of a van in 2020.

“I’m so incredibly sorry for my reckless and wrong actions,” Rahman said. “I don’t think there are enough words to express my sorrow and regret.”

She has also been disbarred.

Judge Brian Cogan said at the sentencing in Brooklyn Federal Court that he was disappointed that a trained lawyer had inflicted an “attack on the rule of law,” describing her as having a “Mona Lisa smile” in her post-arrest mugshot.

“You forgot that we’re not in the West Bank, we’re not in Belfast during the Troubles,” Cogan said. “We’re in the United States of America.”

This May 30, 2020 booking photo provided by the United States Attorney's Office of the Eastern District of New York shows Urooj Rahman.  Rahman, a New York City attorney, was sentenced to 15 months behind bars on Friday, Nov.  18, 2022 for firebombing an empty New York City police vehicle with another lawyer during protests over the murder of George Floyd.

Prosecutors were seeking a sentence of between 18 and 24 months, but Cogan praised Rahman’s commitment to bettering himself during the two and a half years since her arrest that she had spent in home confinement.

Rahman said that he had attended therapy, held employment as a policy director at a nonprofit, and served as the primary caregiver for his elderly mother.

“You’re a remarkable person who did a terrible thing one night,” Cogan said.

The judge ordered her jail time to be followed by two years of supervised release.

Prosecutors said Rahman tossed a Molotov cocktail into a police car during a May 30, 2020, protest. The car was parked outside Brooklyn’s 88th Precinct stationhouse.

Rahman was arrested along with lawyer Colinford Mattis, who drove the getaway van.

Lawyer Colinford Mattis was arrested for trying to firebomb a police car with Urooj Rahman during a George Floyd protest in 2020.
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Both attorneys pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit arson and making and possessing an unregistered destructive device.

Mattis, who was also disbarred, will be sentenced next month.

Rahman received a considerably lighter sentence than another firebombing protester.

Samantha Shader, 29, pleaded guilty in April to a federal arson charge for turning a Bulleit bourbon bottle into a makeshift fire bomb that she hurled at a police van near Eastern Parkway and Washington Ave. in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, on May 29, 2020.

She was sentenced to six years behind bars earlier this week.

The bottle broke the van’s window, but the fluid inside, which the feds described as acetone or nail polish remover, didn’t ignite, and the four officers were spared a fiery fate.

Cogan said Rahman’s case had “better circumstances,” since the Molotov cocktail she threw was directed at an unoccupied police vehicle on a street away from the protests.

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