Ex-Pryor Cashman associate with 3 foster children gets prison time in Molotov cocktail attack
New York lawyers Colinford Mattis (left) and Urooj Rahman in their May 2020 booking photos. Photos from the U.S. attorney’s office of the Eastern District of New York via the Associated Press.
A former associate at Pryor Cashman was sentenced Thursday to a year in prison for helping a friend who tossed a Molotov cocktail into a vacant police car during 2020 protests in New York.
U.S. District Judge Brian M. Cogan of the Eastern District of New York sentenced disbarred lawyer Colinford Mattis, 35, on a charge of making or possessing a destructive device, report Law360 and the New York Times.
Mattis had pleaded guilty in 2021 as part of a deal; he had previously faced charges carrying a minimum sentence of 45 years in prison.
Cogan said Mattis “beat” alcoholism and attention deficit disorder to attend Princeton University and the New York University School of Law. According to a presentencing letter cited by the New York Times, he had grown up in a chaotic home and was in his second year of law school when his father was stabbed to death during a robbery.
After law school, Mattis became more dependent on alcohol. He was his mother’s primary caretaker after her cancer diagnosis. When she died in 2019, he became a foster parent to the three children his mother had been fostering. He hopes to adopt them. He also cares for his 15-year-old nephew.
Mattis had been furloughed just months before the incident.
Cogan told Mattis that he had a responsibility as a lawyer to calm protesters and assure them that justice would prevail, rather than resorting to violence, according to Law360.
“You kind of forgot you’re not one of the oppressed, you are part of the privileged,” Cogan said. “You had it, and with privilege comes obligation.”
Mattis was accused of buying supplies for the Molotov cocktail and driving a minivan to a police precinct where his friend Urooj Rahman tossed the device through a broken window of the police car in May 2020.
Rahman was sentenced in November 2022 to 15 months in prison. Cogan said Mattis got a lighter sentence because he was not the main instigator.
ABAJournal.com: “2 lawyers are disbarred for conspiring to throw Molotov cocktail at empty police car”
ABAJournal.com: “2 lawyers charged in Molotov cocktail attack on cop car reach plea deal”
ABAJournal.com: “2 lawyers are charged with Molotov cocktail attack on cop car; 1 is Pryor Cashman associate”