Lawyers arrested for throwing Molotov cocktails during George Floyd protests could face life in prison
No justice, no peace: A protester stands in Brooklyn in front of a burning police car: Richard Hall / The Independent
Two Brooklyn lawyers and a New York state woman were charged with throwing police at protests against the murder of George Floyd Molotov cocktails.
The three face a variety of federal charges, including explosives, arson and riots.
Samantha Shader, 27, is accused of dropping explosives on a NYPD vehicle while four officers were in the early hours of May 30.
Urooj Rahman, 31, and Colinford Mattis, 32, both Brooklyn lawyers, are both accused of throwing Molotov cocktails onto an unoccupied police vehicle that night.
"Such crimes should never be confused with legitimate protest," US attorney Richard Donoghue said in a statement. "Those who attack NYPD officers or vehicles are not demonstrators, they are criminals and they are treated as such."
In New York, violent protests broke out across the city after George Floyd's murder by a police officer in Minneapolis on May 25. This initial tantrum was followed by larger and more peaceful demonstrations that continue to this day.
Although no one was injured in any of the incidents, the FBI reportedly threw Ms. Shader a Molotov cocktail that smashed two windows of an NYPD vehicle while officials were inside.
Prosecutors said Ms. Shader "traveled the country and committed various crimes, including acts of violence and opposition to the arrest."
The FBI said Rahman and Mattis threw their device into an already damaged NYPD vehicle and set it on fire before they fled their van. They were arrested the same night, according to the indictment.
There has been a historic surge in arrests in New York since the beginning of racial justice protests. Almost half of them were responsible for breaking a curfew imposed in the city to restore order. According to the Gothamist, 1,349 New Yorkers were arrested for violating the curfew. By June 4, more than 10,000 people had been arrested across the country.
What George Floyd's protests really look like on site
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