Lawyer Who Firebombed NYPD Car Seeks Light Sentence

A New York City lawyer who tossed a Molotov cocktail at an NYPD patrol vehicle during the George Floyd riots in May 2020 is asking for a light sentence in federal prison, arguing that she was drunk and under the stress of “early trauma” caused by being a Muslim in America.

Urooj Rahman, 33, said in court papers filed by her lawyers that she had been drinking vodka “on an empty stomach” on the day of the firebombing and that she had “become quite drunk” by the time that she and fellow lawyer Colinford Mattis, 34, set the NYPD car ablaze in the city’s Fort Greene neighborhood near a police station house.

Her filing argued that the firebombing “was a way of expressing anger at those police officers around the country for whom Black lives did not matter.” Rahman’s lawyers argued in the papers that the attack was somehow an “act of protest intended to avoid exposing others to harm.”

Despite her claim that she should not be held responsible because she got drunk that day, reports indicate that she “sounded sober” less than an hour before setting the police car on fire. At that point, she said in a video interview that the ongoing protests were appropriate since “people are angry because the police are never held accountable.”

She was reportedly speaking clearly at that time, also saying: “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.”

The young lawyer pleaded guilty in federal court in October 2021 to throwing the Molotov cocktail that set the car on fire. In June of this year, Rahman reached a revised plea agreement under which she admitted to conspiracy to commit arson and possession of a destructive device. Prosecutors at that time advised the court they were seeking sentences between 18 and 24 months.

Rahman’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for next month, at which time she is expected to be credited with 28 days already served in a federal jail in Brooklyn before she posted $250,000 bail.

Rahman’s lawyers also wrote that she should be given a light sentence because of “abusive partnership relationships” and “the injustices she has witnessed here and abroad.” The papers say that she has assisted refugees in Turkey and Greece and has helped people avoid eviction in New York.

Police Benevolent Association director Patrick Lynch told reporters that Rahman deserves no mercy from the court. He said she “remains committed to a violent anti-police ideology and continues to baselessly smear police officers in her bid for a lighter sentence.”