Urooj Rahman, the lawyer who tossed a Molotov cocktail at an empty New York Police Department patrol vehicle during the George Floyd riots of 2020, is reportedly asking for a reduced sentence — reasoning that she was drunk at the time and also dealing with "early trauma" related to being a Muslim in post-9/11 America.
According to court documents seen by the New York Post, the lawyers representing Rahman, 33, argue she had been downing vodka "on an empty stomach" on May 30, 2020 and "became quite drunk" before Rahman and fellow lawyer Colinford Mattis, 34, set the vehicle ablaze near the 88th Precinct stationhouse in the New York City neighborhood of Fort Greene.
"Tossing the Molotov cocktail was a way of expressing anger at those police officers around the country for whom Black lives did not matter," Rahman's lawyers reportedly wrote to Brooklyn Federal Court Judge Brian M. Cogan. "It was an act of protest intended to avoid exposing others to harm."
According to the Post, Rahman "sounded sober" in a video interview to Loudlabs News NYC about 45 minutes before the police vehicle was torched. At the time, Rahman defended the protests saying that "people are angry because the police are never held accountable."
For that same 2020 interview, the Post also notes Rahman did not slur her words when 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."
In October 2021, Rahman pleaded guilty to throwing the Molotov cocktail.
And in June 2022, under a revised agreement reached, Rahman and Mattis reportedly pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit arson and to making and possessing an unregistered destructive device, with prosecutors acknowledging they would seek prison sentences of 18-24 months.
Rahman, who's slated to be sentenced next month, previously spent 28 days in a Brooklyn federal jail, before posting the $250,000 bail.
The court documents revealed Rahman's other reasons for requesting a lesser sentence: "Abusive partnership relationships," along with "the injustices that she has witnessed here and abroad," which apparently included assisting refugees in Istanbul and Athens, Greece, and helping low-income tenants in New York avoid eviction.
In the court documents, Rahman's lawyers attest the 2020 incident represented "a marked deviation from her otherwise exemplary life," while also noting their client has been in therapy and regularly attends Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.
The prosecutors reportedly dismissed the reasons cited by Rahman's lawyers, telling Judge Cogan that Rahman should get a harsher sentence because the firebombing attack with Mattis occurred during an active protest.
The prosecutors also allege that Rahman and Mattis made at least two explosives on the night of the incident, and even offered one to a nearby protester.
Patrick Lynch, head of the Police Benevolent Association, believes that Rahman doesn't deserve mercy from the court on this matter.
"[Rahman] remains committed to a violent anti-police ideology and continues to baselessly smear police officers in her bid for a lighter sentence," said Lynch. "She must receive the heaviest sentence the law allows."
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