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Molotov Cocktail Arraignment of Mattis Has 100s of Callers Expressions of Support EDNY

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Soundcloud
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - FreePress?

FEDERAL COURTHOUSE, June 24 –  Amid protests about the murder of George Floyd, late on May 30 the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York got a complaint signed by  Magistrate Judge Sanket J. Bulsara about a Molotov cocktail attack on an NYPD vehicle.

Inner City Press, which covered the protests in Foley Square and at One Police Plaza on May 29 (video here and edited here), and aftermath on Fifth Avenue on May 30, publishes the complaint (later-written song on Soundcloud).

 On June 5 the Second Circuit Court of Appeals first heard the government's appeal of the release of Mattis and Rahman. Inner City Press live tweeted it, here, and see below.

On June 23, after the defendants were remanded on June 5, a three judge panel heard more extensive arguments, which Inner City Press also live tweeted, here and below.

On June 24, Colinford Mattis was arraigned on the indictment. Inner City Press live tweeted it:

Colinford Mattis is on the line from the MDC. Some of his supporters, not on mute, say "We're with you bro."

Court reporter says, "They must identify themselves!" Proceeding about to begin.

"This is US v. Mattis 20-cr-203, it is now 9:42 am."  Judge Pollak: I understand there are a number of individuals on the line. There should be no recording, because we have a court reporter. If you would like a transcript I can get you her information.

 Judge Pollak: The grand jury has returned an indictment charging you with seven counts, damaging an NYPD vehicle, arson, explosive device, arson conspiracy, destructive device, obstructing law enforcement during civil disorder and finally making incendiary device

Shroff: Mr Mattis waives public reading of the indictment and pleads not guilty. He understands the charges.

Judge Pollack: July 15 in front of District Judge.

AUSA: We will turn over Rule 16 discovery. Time is excluded through September due to COVID-19. Adjourned.

After Judge adjourns, people stay on the line. One says, God is with you. Another: This is racism. Many beeps.

The Court asked, Are you saying we should sent this back to have the presumption addressed? Or should we get to the argument that no reasonable judge could find conditions for release?

AUSA David Kessler: Now there's an indicted case, so the case if remanded should go to the assigned District Judge.

Judge: What if a judge explicitly referred to the presumption, but then ruled otherwise?  AUSA: There must be consideration of the presumption, or it's error

Judge: Does your brief directly tie it to the presumption statute?

AUSA David Kessler: On page 10 of the General Appendix, the detention memo, links to it. Judge: It would be good to always do that in the body of the brief.

AUSA: I've reserved time for rebuttal

 Judge: You were urging us to find that this was not a proper case for release at all - that is, it was clearly erroneous. That is your position, right?

AUSA: Right, yes it is.

Judge: Mr Shechtman?

Shechtman: The standard for review here is "clear error."

Shechtman: There was no point made to the District Judge that the were a presumption. But it was in the memo, and the judge said she had read the memo. There is no requirement that one mouths any particular words here.

Shechtman: "Judge Breyer in the First Department said the presumption is not a bursting bubble." In this case, the defense produced, said if you put this night to the side, you would be proud to have these two as children. They took no adverse action while at home

Shechtman: In Ms. Rahman's case, there are six people on the hook, none of them rich. Likely to commit another crime? No.

Clerk: You have a minute left.

Shechtman: Thank you. To send this back to have a senior judge mouth words is demeaning of a very good judge.

 Judge Newman: I understand the point that you would not expect two lawyers to go and buy materials to make a bomb and have an hour lead time between purchase and hurling - they don't cool down - that they risk their careers. Why think they wouldn't do it again?

 Shechtman: The conditions imposed would keep them away from the street. Judge: That's assuming they obey the law. If they are provoked enough to throw a bomb, they might go out and join a protest.

Shechtman: You can't imagine--

Judge: The whole case is, unimaginable.

 Shechtman: That night was unique. It was young people out to protest police violence and they saw more of it. Bob Morgenthau called some crimes stupidity in the first degree, and that's this. They are not anarchist. Not members of any organization.

Judge: These are not new problems. And they have not been cured. In a previous era, people protested racial injustice and an unjust war. Most were peaceful. But a tiny minority, with pedigrees, wound up blowing up a townhouse in Greenwich Village.Judge: And before they blew up the townhouse, they could have said what you are saying today. And that's what's of concern.

Shechtman: Judge Lynch, those people were members of a criminal organization. They were at war with society.

Shechtman: If you look at the video, the car was parked away from other people. Can you now trust these two? Right now, our City looks different than when this happened. Judge: The US says that the car the defendants were in contained other Molotov cocktails

 Shechtman: I don't know about that. This was one night where fine people lost their way. Judge: It would be one thing if a person caught up in the moment saw a Molotov cocktail and hurled it. But when somebody taken an hour then is driving around with others...

Shechtman: I don't mean to be flip. They drove around until they found an empty police vehicle that had been badly vandalized. They had enough sense to pick a target where no one would be harmed.

Judge: Ms Shroff?

Shroff: Judge Brodie was raised as a prosecutor. She had before her the government's detention memo, which detailed the facts and the presumption. This court should not second guess three entities - two judges and Pre-Trial Services, which found detention not required.

Shroff: The government knows she considered the presumption. She asked, Is there anything further? And the presumption was not raised. Judge Brodie asked me, How do you know it won't be repeated. She was shifting the burden of production.

Clerk: You have 1 minute

Shroff: I ask you to endorse the decision of Judge Brodie and grant bail. Judge: Three minute rebuttal.

AUSA: If the prior panel had concluded that the bail conditions were sufficient it would not have found irreparable harm to the government.

Judge: The issue is whether we should conclude that no reasonable judge could do what they did.

AUSA: That's the issue on the clear error portion of the argument... This was a crossing of the Rubicon, for two lawyers to do this.

Judge: Both sides stress they were lawyers. I think if they were not lawyers, we would not be here - they would be detained. But now you're saying it's more outrageous than if they were grocery store clerks, or doctors.

 AUSA: We'd be making the same argument.

 Judge: You're saying, if lawyers were willing to do this, it emphasizes their dangerousness.

AUSA: Yes, that's more articulate than I put it. This Court has reversed other bail decisions, like in Mercedes. The final point is, Remanding this case is not demeaning.

Judge Hall: Do you agree the government did not raise the issue of the presumption to Judge Brodie?

AUSA: It was raised in our detention papers, and in out stay motion to a prior panel of this court.

Judge: We'll reserve decision in this matter.

 On June 20 Inner City Press published the EDNY transcript, on Scrib'd and Patreon, and Collinford Mattis' reply brief to the Second Circuit, also on Scrib'd and Patreon.

And June 22 statement via CCR, here.

On June 19 the prosecutors' reply brief said that "Rahman gave a video-taped interview earlier in the evening of the firebombing, during which she stated, among other things: “This s–t won’t ever stop unless we f–kin’ take it all down,” “I think the mayor should have done that [held back the NYPD], because if he really cared about his police officers, he should have realized that it’s not worth them getting hurt,” and “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.” The video is here, from 4 hour 30 minutes.

 A letter is being circulated supporting Rahman, with more than 230 signatures, and a fundraiser with $87,000 up from $79,000 only the night before: "An Open Letter from the Fordham Law Community concerning Urooj Rahman ‘15 and Colin Mattis: As current Fordham Law students, student organizations, faculty, staff and alumni, we write to express our deep dismay with the federal government’s aggressive charging and pursuit of the pre-trial detention of Urooj Rahman, a 2015 Fordham Law graduate, and Colinford (“Colin”) Mattis. Urooj and Colin are attorneys of color and respected community members who were arrested on May 30, 2020 while protesting the murder of George Floyd and systemic anti-Black police brutality. On that day, Urooj and Colin took part in an unprecedented national and global uprising that comprised hundreds of thousands of people.   Throughout this uprising, we have witnessed the Trump Administration’s attempts to distract from the reality of police brutality. This includes President Trump’s conspiracy theories about Martin Gugino, the 75-year old protestor who was hospitalized after being assaulted by Buffalo police officers; and his tear-gassing of protestors for a photo opportunity in front of the White House. The disproportionate prosecution of Urooj and Colin is another iteration of the Trump administration’s attempt to detract from police violence in the US. And indeed, Rahman, a Pakistani Muslim immigrant and Mattis, a young Black man, are convenient scapegoats given this country’s deeply entrenched and violent history of anti-Black racism and Islamophobia.   We believe that the Department of Justice’s prosecution and efforts to incarcerate Urooj and Colin are a gross overreach of federal law enforcement power, and an attempt to stifle and delegitimize dissent against police brutality. Urooj and Colin are facing charges of attempting to burn an unoccupied and already damaged NYPD vehicle during nationwide protests. There is no indication that anyone was in the immediate vicinity when they allegedly committed these acts. ... Urooj has long been engaged in advocacy on the over-policing of Black and Brown communities in New York, particularly around the targeting and over-surveillance of Muslims after 9/11. She is a graduate of Fordham College and Fordham Law School..."

   On June 5 Inner City Press noted even that that the forthcoming decision might turn on EDNY District Judge Brodie's failure to mention the applicable presumption.

 After 5 pm on June 5, this remand:  Full order on Patreon here. Watch this site.

Live tweeted thread of appeal argument here.

 On June 2, the appeal was filed, full text on Patreon here


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