The two lawyers from Brooklyn involved in an incident where theyallegedly tried to firebomb an empty police vehicle during last week's protests against police brutality were ordered back to jail after a federal appeals court panel reversed a lower court's decision.
Colinford King Mattis and Urooj Rahman were originally released on $250,000 bond each on June 2nd and confined to home detention while awaiting a hearing. U.S. Marshals immediately took the two into custody separately three days later.
On Friday, a judge heard from David Kessler, a prosecutor who told a judge that the lower court's decision to grant bail does not "address the danger that's been evidenced by the conduct," according to CNN. A judge questioned Kessler's argument, stating the pair are not affiliated with any terrorist group.
"I agree, your honor, there's no foreign terrorist organization in this case, but what we are dealing with is two defendants who, despite being attorneys and not just knowing this is wrong but understanding the seriousness of these consequences took a series of actions designed to cause damage and—designed or not—highly likely to inflict injury if not death," said Kessler, as reported by CNN.
Prosecutors charge that Mattis was driving a minivan with Rahman in the passenger seat on May 30th, with Rahman exiting the vehicle to throw the Molotov cocktail at the police car that was parked outside the 88th Precinct in Fort Greene. The pair soon fled in their car, according to prosecutors, and were soon arrested. Federal prosecutors also allege the pair had handed out Molotov cocktails to others. Authorities claim to have found items to build an explosive, including a lighter, beer bottle filled with toilet paper and a gasoline tank.
Before the incident, Rahman gave an interview where she explained why protesters were upset, claiming they were targeting police precincts. “People are angry because the police are never held accountable," she said. "This has got to stop. And the only way they hear, the only way they hear us is through violence, through the means that they use."
Mattis and Rahman did not have criminal records before their arrests last week. A hearing on their case is schedule for June 12th.
Rahman is an attorney for Bronx Legal Services, representing tenants facing eviction, while Mattis is an associate for the Manhattan firm Pryor Cashman and a Brooklyn community board member. He was furloughed in April because of the COVID-19 crisis and was later suspended after his arrest.
In a separate incident that had happened hours from each other in the same borough, authorities apprehended and charged Samantha Shader, 27, of Catskills, NY, for hurling a Molotov cocktail at a police van with four officers inside.