Samantha Shader Sentenced in George Floyd Protest Case – NBC New York

What to Know

  • A New York woman charged with federal crimes for firebombing an NYPD vehicle during an eruption of demonstrations in the city following George Floyd’s killing by a police officer in Minnesota has been sentenced to six years in prison.
  • Samantha Shader, of Catskill, New York, was found guilty of chucking a Molotov cocktail at an NYPD vehicle that was occupied by four police officers in spring 2020.
  • Two attorneys, Colinford Mattis and Urooj Rahman, are also charged with chucking another Molotov cocktail at an NYPD vehicle a few hours later.

A New York woman charged on federal crimes for firebombing an occupied NYPD vehicle during an eruption of demonstrations in the city following George Floyd’s killing by a police officer in Minnesota has been sentenced to six years in prison.

Samantha Shader, of Catskill, New York, was found guilty of chucking a Molotov cocktail at an NYPD vehicle that was occupied by four police officers in spring 2020When she was being cuffed, federal prosecutors say that she bit one of the officer’s leg. On Tuesday, a judge sentenced Shader to 72 months in prison.

According to the charging documents, Shader allegedly threw a Molotov cocktail at 1:12 am in Brooklyn on May 31, 2020. The FBI says it shattered two windows of the NYPD vehicle and damaged the vehicle while officers were inside. The FBI was able to get video from a witness. The officers managed to escape.

After Shader’s arrest, they said she waived her Miranda rights and admitted to throwing the Molotov cocktail at the NYPD vehicle.

“The defender’s use of a Molotov cocktail was a violent event … four officers were sitting in that van whose lives could have ended in death or injury had that Molotov cocktail gone off,” Assistant US Attorney Jonathan Algor said during sentencing.

Prosecutors said during her trial that Shader “has traveled the country committing various crimes, which include acts of violence and resisting arrest” including a 2019 officer interference conviction in Waterford, Connecticut.

Shader, who at times wiped away tears during her sentencing hearing, expressed remorse saying: “I want to apologize to everybody. I want to apologize to the police…I apologize to my family.”

Shader went on to say she wished she “could take this back. What I did was wrong and disrespectful. I hope you can forgive me. And everyone else there.”

“I have no excuse for what I did. So I’m not gonna try to make any. I am grateful for where I am right now in life,” she added.

Judge Dora Irizarry said that the events that unfolded could have been “catastrophic.”

“Not just the lives of the four officers were at risk but also protestors,” the judge said. “The vehicle had gasoline. It could have exploded.”

Three people — including Shader, who authorities say has an extensive criminal history — were arrested on federal charges after a pair of NYPD vehicles were firebombed during the protests.

Following the release of a city report examining the NYPD’s response to the George Floyd protests, both the mayor and NYPD are acknowledging the report’s findings. News 4’s Chris Glorioso has the latest on how Mayor De Blasio, Commissioner Shea, and community activists are reacting to the report.

Aside from Shader, two lawyers, Colinford Mattis, 32, and Urooj Rahman, 31, of Brooklyn, who faced the possibility of 10 years in prison for a separate NYPD firebombing, agreed to a new plea deal June 2 that could significantly reduce their time behind bars.

Federal prosecutors agreed to recommend a prison sentence of 18 to 24 months for Mattis and Rahman.

The reduced charges represent a remarkable change from the tough approach initially taken by federal prosecutors, who had initially hit the attorneys, both 33, with serious charges that could have landed them in prison for decades.

The two were arrested amid clashes between protesters and police on May 30, 2020, during an eruption of demonstrations following Floyd’s killing by a police officer in Minnesota.

Surveillance cameras recorded Rahman, a human rights lawyer, hurling an incendiary device into a parked police vehicle, setting fire to its console. No one was injured in the attack, but the vehicle was severely damaged.

Samantha Shader, 27, of Catskill, New York was charged with allegedly throwing a Molotov cocktail at an NYPD vehicle that was occupied by four police officers.

The FBI says that in that incident, Rahman lit a Molotov cocktail into a previously damaged NYPD vehicle which then set fire to the vehicle. The pair tried to leave the scene, but were caught and arrested by NYPD officers, according to authorities.

When officers arrested the lawyers a short time later and said they found a lighter, a Bud Light beer bottle filled with toilet paper and a gasoline tank in the back of a minivan driven by Mattis, a corporate attorney. Prosecutors allege the lawyers planned to distribute and throw other Molotov cocktails.

The complaint reads, “during the arrest, officers observed in plain view several precursor items to build a Molotov cocktail, including a lighter, a bottle filled with toilet paper and a liquid suspected to be gasoline in the proximity of the passenger seat and a gasoline tank in the rear of the vehicle.”

While other lawyers condemned their conduct, some objected to the severity of the charges, arguing that the case was improperly being handled as if it were an act of domestic terrorism. When the US attorney in Brooklyn asked that the lawyers be detained without bail, 56 former federal prosecutors sent a legal brief to the court criticizing the government’s handling of the case.

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