A former lawyer who torched an NYPD police car with a Molotov cocktail at a George Floyd protest in Brooklyn was sentenced to more than a year in prison Friday.
Brooklyn federal court Judge Brian Cogan admonished Urooj Rahman before handing down the 15-month sentence, calling the firebombing an “attack on the rule of law” carried out by someone who took an oath to uphold the Constitution.
In the United States, Cogan told Rahman, you “go to the ballot box, not the bomb” if you’re driven to fight for social justice. He added she showed an “amazing level of arrogance” with the attack.
“What a bomb does cannot be undone,” the jurist said.
Rahman copped to conspiracy to commit arson in June for the May 29, 2020, firebombing near the 88th Precinct station house in Fort Greene. Under the plea deal, federal prosecutors from the Eastern District of New York said they would seek a maximum two-year prison sentence for Rahman.
Rahman, accompanied by fellow lawyer Colinford Mattis, hurled a Motolov cocktail at the unoccupied police car as protests over the Minneapolis, Minn., police killing of George Floyd raged on the streets of Brooklyn that night.
At a hearing in 2021, prosecutors read a series of text messages exchanged between Rahman and Mattis, revealing the pair joked about burning down police headquarters and courts over nearly a 24-hour period.
“I hope they burn everything down,” Rahman told Mattis in a message hours before protests formed. “Need to burn all the police stations down… probably all the courts too.”
When Rahman joined protesters that night, she wrote to Mattis: “Throwing bottles and tear gas … lit some fires but were put out … fireworks goin and Molotovs rollin.”
“Go burn down 1PP” Mattis responded. “Bring it to their [sic] neck.”
Rahman and her attorneys argued Friday she led an exemplary life prior to that night, which brought her from Pakistan to the United States and later to Fordham Law School, where she earned her degree.
Rahman traveled to various troubled areas around the globe during law school, including Northern Ireland and South Africa, to study and aid marginalized people.
Cogan gave her credit for the faultless life she led prior to the fiery night in Brooklyn.
“You’re a remarkable person who did a terrible thing on one night,” he said.
In tearful remarks at the hearing, Rahman apologized to her ailing mother who she said has been devasted by this for two years.
“I completely lost my way in the emotion of the night,” Rahman said.
She added that she’s since reconnected with her spirituality and religion to atone for the act — and has sought treatment for alcohol abuse and other psychiatric issues.
“I’m no longer the person that I was,” she said.
Rahman will have to report to prison in mid-January, Cogan said. Mattis, who pleaded guilty to the same charge as Rahman, is scheduled to face sentencing next month.