Colinford Mattis gets 12 months for role in Molotov attack

It has been a long time coming but Colinford Mattis was finally sentenced today for his role in the May 2020 Molotov cocktail attack which destroyed a police vehicle.


A lawyer who purchased gasoline that another lawyer used in firebombing an unoccupied New York City police car during protests over George Floyd’s death in 2020 was sentenced Thursday to a year and a day in prison.

Colinford Mattis, appearing in federal court, was also ordered to pay just over $30,000 to the New York Police Department for the destroyed vehicle.

Mattis didn’t throw the Molotov that destroyed the vehicle. That was his partner in crime Urooj Rahman. But Mattis drove the vehicle and also bought the gasoline used to make the Molotov. Prosecutors pointed to chats between the two which showed that the Molotov attack was a considered action they planned in advance.

On May 29, 2020, rioters set arson to the Minneapolis Third Precinct stationhouse, and much of the nation viewed the police station engulfed in flames with horror. Prosecutors say that Mattis and Rahman looked on with a different reaction: inspiration.

“Mattis and Rahman used a separate group chat to discuss the use of weapons and violence to pursue social change,” the government’s sentencing memo states. “In their discussion, Rahman expressed the view that ‘all the police stations’ and ‘probably all the courts’ ‘need[ed]’ to be burned down.”


Mattis didn’t throw the firebomb but he was 100% behind it at the time:

“Go burn down 1PP,” Colinford Mattis wrote to his accomplice, Urooj Rahman, before their arrest on May 30, 2020, prosecutor Ian Richardson said at the plea hearing Wednesday in Brooklyn federal court.

“Bring it to their neck,” Mattis added in the text message and shared a Google Maps location of One Police Plaza with Rahman, Richardson said.

Both defendants were facing a minimum of 30 years in prison initially thanks to a federal charge. But after much pleading in the media the charges were ultimately dropped down to one count each of “possession of a destructive device.” Urooj Rahman was sentenced to 15 months last November. Both she and Mattis also lost their license to practice law. The judge alternately praised and chided Mattis in court today.

“You’re not one of the oppressed. You’re one of the privileged,” senior Eastern District of New York Judge Brian Cogan told Colinford Mattis, even as he expressed admiration for what the 35-year-old had accomplished in his life…

“You’re a good guy. No question,” Cogan told Mattis, dressed in a blue shirt and tan khakis.

The NY Times reports people were shocked by the judge’s statement about privilege:


Spectators in the gallery gasped at the judge’s words. “To make that comment, you’re not seeing the same things that I’m seeing,” said Taaj Reeves, a friend of Mr. Mattis’s, after the hearing.

Ultimately, it wasn’t the judge it was the election of Joe Biden that saved them from a much more significant sentence:

Within hours of their arrest, the case was transferred from state to federal court, an unusual move for a crime that involved no bodily harm or loss of life. The police van they torched had already been vandalized. Trump’s Justice Department plainly wanted to make an example of the duo, as the unstinting June 11 indictment filed against them made clear.

…almost exactly a year after the two were first arrested, federal prosecutors — now in Biden’s employ, not Trump’s — gave Mattis and Rahman a plea deal that, were they to accept it, would give them no more than two years in jail.

But the most interesting part of this story may be how the progressive media latched on to these 30-something, privileged lawyers as victims of the system:

To the Heritage Foundation they were “terrorists,” while New York magazine allowed that they could be seen as “civil-rights heroes, even martyrs.” The Daily Mail called them “woke lawyers.” In the pages of the New York Times, they were described by a guest contributor as victims of “deeply ingrained injustices.”


They were not heroes or martyrs or victims of the system. They are both getting off far too easily in my view. To be clear, I opposed the 30 year minimum sentence when that was on the table. That was clearly excessive. But one year behind bars is what I would expect any teen thug to get for something like this. An adult lawyer who went to Ivy League schools should definitely know better and should be held to a much higher standard. Here’s Urooj Rahman justifying her crime on the night it happened.

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