A federal judge on Tuesday sentenced a woman who tried to firebomb a New York Police Department van to six years in prison, according to the New York Post.
U.S. District Judge Dora Irizarry also had harsh words for the attorney of Samantha Shader, who tried to soft-soap Shader’s actions.
Shader had pleaded guilty to tossing a Molotov cocktail at an NYPD van during a May 29, 2020, protest in Brooklyn over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody.
Amanda David, representing Shader, was arguing for a five-year sentence by claiming Shader was drinking and doing drugs before the protest.
Irizarry said the lawyer was presenting an improper legal defense before the sentencing.
“That’s a legal defense. Diminished capacity is a legal defense. That’s exactly what you were arguing,” the judge said, according to the Post.
“You can’t speak out of both sides of your mouth,” Irizarry added.
David was also interrupted when trying to claim Shader, 29, of Saugerties, New York, was weepy after her arrest when told the van she attacked had police officers in it.
Irizarry said it was “really hard to believe she did not see individuals in the vehicle.”
“There’s just no way she could not have seen there were people in the vehicle,” the judge said.
Irizarry also focused on the 70 hours of psychiatric treatment Shader received at the Metropolitan Detention Center, which she said was more than many non-white defendants are given.
When David tried to explain why this was done, Irizarry snapped at the lawyer.
“You’re not answering my question. You can continue because I don’t expect you to,” she said.
In sentencing Shader, Irizarry said that although the Constitution protects “the public’s right to speak out on issues that are important to them,” Shader crossed a line, according to the New York Daily News.
”The images are clear. You had a lighter. You lit the fuse. You threw it,” Irizarry said, referencing a video of Shader throwing a flaming bottle at the van. “Had it worked, it’s not just the lives of the four officers. These vehicles have gasoline. It would have exploded. … The possibilities were definitely catastrophic.”
This is the moment Samantha Shader put 4 officers lives in danger when she threw a Molotov cocktail into their car. Thankfully it didn’t explode but she could’ve killed them. She is now charged with attempted murder. Her sister is charged with resisting arrest. pic.twitter.com/18QBfYGfr7
— Robby Starbuck (@robbystarbuck) May 31, 2020
The bottle broke two windows of the parked van but did not ignite.
Shader’s lawyers at one time tried to claim the bottle was not a true Molotov cocktail because it was “a thick glass Bulleit whisky bottle, and was not readily breakable, as opposed to functional Molotov cocktails which generally employ thinner glass containers, like beer bottles.”
Federal prosecutors pushed back.
“What she wanted to do when she lit that thing … was to create hell, was to create destruction,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Algor said. “She used fire, fire that she couldn’t control when she let it go.”
“I want to apologize to everybody. I want to apologize to the police … I apologize to my family,” she said, adding that she wished she “could take this back. What I did was wrong and disrespectful. I hope you can forgive me. And everyone else there. “
“I have no excuse for what I did. So I’m not gonna try to make any. I am grateful for where I am right now in life,” she said.
According to a Justice Department news release, when police went to arrest Shader, she bit one officer on the leg.
Federal authorities said Shader’s lengthy rap sheet includes arrests in 11 states, the Post reported.
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