A second former New York lawyer has been sentenced to one year and one day in prison for participating in a Molotov cocktail attack during a New York City protest in 2020 following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Colinford Mattis, 35, pleaded guilty to carrying out the attack on an empty New York Police Department police patrol car in late May 2020. He will also have to pay over $30,000 of restitution to the police department for the destroyed van and serve one year of supervised release after his jail sentence, according to John Marzulli, spokesperson for the U.S. Attorneys Office for the Eastern District of New York.
Mattis was indicted alongside another former New York lawyer, Urooj Rahman, in June 2020 over the incident. Last November, Rahman was sentenced to 15 months in prison for her role in the incident.
Both Mattis and Rahman were charged by federal prosecutors with causing damage by fire and explosives to the police vehicle.
They drove a tan minivan to the Fort Greene neighborhood of Brooklyn. During the protest, Rahman approached an empty NYPD vehicle with an already broken window and tossed in a makeshift explosive device, according to court filings. She fled the scene in the van driven by Mattis, court records show. Police stopped the vehicle and found “precursor” items to build explosives, including a lighter, a Bud Light bottle filled with toilet paper and a gasoline tank.
The case of Mattis and Rahman has drawn attention not only because of the severity of the allegations, but also due to the characteristics of the defendants. Both attended top-tier schools – Mattis completed New York University Law School after graduating from Princeton University and Rahman is a graduate of Fordham Law School – and have backgrounds that indicate they are devoted members of their families and communities.
Mattis, who is Black, was raised and at the time of the protest lived in East New York, where he was a member of his local community board and cared for three foster children, two of whom he was in the process of adopting.
Rahman, a Pakistani immigrant, worked as an attorney at Bronx Legal Services, where she represented tenants facing evictions, and at the time of the protest lived with her elderly mother, for whom she cares.
United States Attorney Breon Peace wrote in his sentencing memo that the case presented “a uniquely difficult task” in recommending a sentence for Mattis, based on several factors such as entering “a profession that offered a future of gainful and meaningful employment” and “Mattis’s decision to adopt his own foster mother’s foster children.”
Mattis is scheduled to report to prison on March 8.