A couple of days ago we looked at the case of Samantha Shader, the young New York City woman who has been charged with four counts of attempted murder after throwing a lit Molotov cocktail into an NYPD van with officers inside. Thankfully she failed in her attempt when the bomb refused to explode. But some of her fellow travelers were more successful, using the incendiary devices to destroy other emergency response vehicles. Two of them have now not only been identified, but significant evidence is building up that should ensure they are taken out of action for a very long time.
Jonathan Turley has all the details of this dynamic duo on his website. Colinford Mattis, 32, and Urooj Rahman, 31, are both attorneys in the Big Apple. Or at least they were until very recently. Mattis was the driver of the van seen pulling up near at least one NYPD vehicle and Rahman was the woman who (with apparently more skill than Shader) threw a lit Molotov into it, whereupon it exploded and destroyed the car. That would be enough for some serious charges to start with, but as Turley reports, new video evidence has emerged showing that the pair was attempting to distribute Molotovs to other rioters in the area. That may be why the feds are involved and why the pair could be facing charges of domestic terrorism
I would expect that additional charges might be sought now that authorities are saying that they were trying to distribute the Molotov cocktails. The criminal complaint now includes the allegations that “Rahman attempted to distribute Molotov cocktails to the witness and others so that those individuals could likewise use the incendiary devices in furtherance of more destruction and violence.” The use of the federal system is also likely to produce a longer sentence in a case of this kind, particularly if they can show a broader conspiracy or interstate movements or communications.
The new allegation reflects premeditation and planning to unleash multiple fire bombings. The FBI is likely looking at the ownership of the van and anyone who may have rendered material support. The case is framed perfectly as a test case of the Administration treating defendants as domestic terrorists under the definition in subsection 5 of 18 U.S.C. 2331:
The definition of domestic terrorism as used in United States legal code is still being hashed out over time, but these two certainly seem to fill the bill. It looks like the paper trail may exist to get them acquiring and assembling all of the components required to create firebombs. And they “conspired” to do it together. They then were seen attempting to enlist others to make use of the bombs.
And the purpose of their activities looks like a slam dunk in terms of the terrorism code definitions. One of those is activities that “appear to be intended—(i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping.”
Sadly, these two are (allegedly) only one pair out of thousands upon thousands of thugs that have been terrorizing New York City under the guise of protesting the death of George Floyd. It’s thus far proving impossible for law enforcement to significantly slow them down, to say nothing of being able to put them all behind bars. But if these two manage to wind up pulling decades in prison for their schemes rather than getting a slap on the wrist, it might start sending a message to the rest of them.