On Friday, Prosecutors in the US filed numerous charges against three protesters who are accused of throwing Molotov cocktails at police cars during recent demonstrations in New York. If the suspects are found guilty, these charges could lead to life sentences.
Samantha Shader, Colinford Mattis, and Urooj Rahman are accused of throwing explosive devices at police cars in two different incidents.
No one was injured in either alleged attack, and most of the explosives did not detonate, but all three suspects are facing seven charges including arson, possession, use of explosives and destructive devices, and public disorder. All three are currently being held without bail.
In a statement announcing the charges, US Attorney Richard Donoghue said that, “Such criminal acts should never be confused with legitimate protest. Those who carry out attacks on NYPD Officers or vehicles are not protesters, they are criminals, and they will be treated as such.”
Two of the suspects, Urooj Rahman, 31, and Colinford Mattis, 32, are lawyers in Brooklyn. Samantha Shader, 27, has been accused of traveling across the country and participating in various riots.
According to the Gothamist, 1,349 New Yorkers were detained for violating the curfew. Across the country, more than 10,000 people were arrested up until the 4th of June. So far, these are the most serious potential sentences that protesters have been threatened with.
As we previously reported, there have been at least 3 arrests for arson from the numerous riots in Minneapolis and St. Paul. One of the people who were arrested for arson admitting to participating in the siege of the police precinct.
23-year-old Branden Michael Wolfe of St. Paul, Minnesota, was officially charged with arson this week, according to KIMT.
On June 3rd, police in St. Paul were called to a home improvement store after someone reported that Wolfe was walking around wearing body armor and carrying a baton. Wolfe reportedly worked at the store but was fired just before his arrest for making social media posts about his involvement in the riots. Wolfe previously worked at the store as a security guard.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared victory over police brutality this weekend, saying that protesters can go home now after he signed new police reforms into law.
“Let’s sit down at a table, with the local government with the police with the other stakeholders. How do we design the local police department? What do you want the police to be in New York City? Let’s design it,” Cuomo said.
The New York State Police Reform & Reinvention Collaborative, which was signed by the governor last week, gives the 500 municipalities in New York nine months to propose and enact police reform or the state will withhold funding. The plans must address force by police officers, crowd management, community policing, implicit bias awareness training, de-escalation training and practices, restorative justice practices, and community-based outreach.
However, it remains to be seen whether or not this recent legislation will be enough to address the many problems that exist in the police structure of the state.