By Calvin Freiburger
Federal prosecutors moved this week to seek a “dramatically” reduced sentence for two Brooklyn attorneys who firebombed an NYPD automobile during the anti-police Black Lives Matter riots of 2020, in the latest display of the Biden administration’s selective approach to political violence.
Fox News reported that Colinford Mattis and Urooj Rahman were arrested in New York on May 30, 2020. Rahman was caught on video throwing a Molotov cocktail at a parked, unoccupied NYPD vehicle and then fleeing the scene, with Mattis allegedly serving as the getaway driver. Police pursued and arrested them, at which point various materials for making Molotov cocktails were found in the vehicle, including a lighter, a bottle filled with toilet paper, and a gasoline tank.
They pled guilty in October 2021 to one count apiece of possessing and making a destructive device, for which the government had planned to seek 10-year sentences with potential terrorism enhancements.
On Tuesday, however, prosecutors for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York filed documents stating that Mattis and Rahman agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy to commit arson in exchange for sentence recommendations of just 18 to 24 months, with a potential maximum sentence of five years.
It was apparently hoped that reconsideration would yield lighter sentencing due to the fact that the duo’s original pleas coincided with the transition from appointees of former President Donald Trump to Democrat Joe Biden.
“There is absolutely no justification for lowballing the sentence for an anti-police terrorist attack,” Patrick Lynch, president of New York City’s Police Benevolent Association, said in response to the news. “It’s bad enough that these dangerous criminals have been allowed to sit at home for the past two years. Handing them a below-guidelines sentence would give a green light to other anti-police radicals who seek to advance their cause through violence. The judge must reject this request.”
The BLM riots were triggered by the May 2020 death of George Floyd, a Minneapolis criminal killed during an altercation with former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who in April 2021 was convicted of murder for the incident. The riots were predicated on the narrative that Floyd’s death was not an isolated case of police misconduct but a symptom of institutionalized bigotry and murderous intent in American law enforcement.
The Biden administration has largely embraced that narrative, commemorating the anniversary of Floyd’s death and bemoaning the “legacy of systemic racism in our criminal justice system and in our institutions more broadly.”
By contrast, the administration has been far more aggressive about pursuing those involved in the January 6, 2021 riot at the U.S. Capitol after Biden’s defeat of Trump, with hundreds of trespassers arrested and many conservatives expressing concerns about their treatment and disproportionate, selective punishment.