On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Dora L. Irizarry sentenced 29-year-old Samantha Shader to 72 months in prison for using an improvised incendiary device in an attempt to set fire to a New York City Police Department (NYPD) van occupied by four police officers in Brooklyn on the night of May 29, 2020.
Shader, a BLM rioter, on the night of May 29, 2020, amid a large protest march near the Brooklyn Museum, awitness used his phone to record a video of Shader lighting the wick of a Molotov cocktail and throwing it at amarked NYPD van occupied by four police officers who were assigned to crowd control during the protests of the George Floyd riots. As she threw the Molotov Shader called out to protesters around the van to “Get out of the motherf—ing way!” The Molotov cocktail struck the NYPD van, shattering two of its windows, but did not break and ignite. The police officers exited their vehicle and apprehended Shader, who resisted arrest by biting one of the police officers on the leg. Shader pleaded guilty to the charge in April of 2022.
Shader said after the sentencing, “I want to apologize to everybody. I want to apologize to the police. I apologize to my family, and I wish I 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 to try to make any. I am grateful for where I am right now in life.”
Judge Irizarry commented at the sentencing, “What she did could have been “catastrophic. Not just the lives of the four officers were at risk but also the protestors. The vehicle had gasoline and It could have exploded.”
United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Breon Peace said, “The constitutionally protected right to peaceful protest is a core democratic value. Over the course of this nation’s history, protests have led to significant positive changes.
“But throwing a potentially lethal device at an NYPD van occupied by four officers during a protest was an unacceptable and dangerous act, which put the officers and others present at risk.
“This office is committed to holding accountable those who, like this defendant, commit crimes that endanger the community and the lives of the dedicated officers of the NYPD,” Peace concluded.
FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge, Michael J. Driscoll commented, “Today, Ms. Shader learned the consequences for choosing to engage in violent actions. Malicious actors who wish to bring mayhem to our community, and those who dutifully serve to protect it, will be held accountable for their behaviors by the FBI and or law enforcement partners.”
NYPD Commissioner Keechant L. Sewell added, “A violent criminal who crossed a line that is critical to a lawful, civil society has been appropriately held to account.
“Today’s sentencing sends a clear message that no one may ever commit a despicable act of vandalism, especially one that endangers the lives of police officer, whose mission is to ensure people’s rights right to demonstrate peacefully. U commend the NYPD officers who arrested her for this criminal act, and I thank the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District for taking the safety of all New Yorkers, including the police who serve them, seriously.”
Following Shader’s arrest, the FBI identified Timothy Amerman, a Saugerties, New York resident as the man who had provided glass bottles to Shader that would be used as projectiles during the protests. He was arrested on July 3, 2020 and has pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit civil disorder and is awaiting sentencing. He faces a maximum of 60 months’ imprisonment.
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