NEW YORK - "I think this protest is a long time coming," said lawyer Urooj Rahman the night of May 29th a short time before she allegedly tossed a Molotov cocktail at an empty NYPD patrol car during a chaotic protest against the killing of George Floyd.

That night Rahman said, "Destruction of property is nothing compared to the murder of a human life."

Now Rahman is in solitary confinement at the Metropolitan Detention Center on federal charges. If convicted on all seven counts, she would face at least 45 years in prison.

"No one was harmed, no one was in the vehicle and no one was nearby the vehicle," said her attorney Paul Shechtman. “The result of it, the dashboard and console were charred. Anyone who thinks that in a civilized society that warrants 45 years has in in my view lost its sense of proportion."

Rahman, who lives in Bay Ridge, was charged with another lawyer Colinford Mattis, from East New York.

Court documents say he drove her that night and then fled. Salmah Rizvi introduced them. Rizvi attended NYU law school with Mattis and met Rahman, who was at Fordham Law, through their shared interest in asylum policies. 

"Urooj's activist work has taken her around the world to help refugees in Turkey, in Egypt, in Greece. And so she's really established herself in the human rights front," Rizvi said.

At NYU, Rizvi says, Mattis held leadership positions in the black law students association and student government. He's also a graduate of Princeton University. He had been furloughed by his law firm before the protest and according to Razvi, was suspended after his arrest. Rahman has kept her job at Bronx Legal Services and her union Legal Services Staff Association 2320 released a statement Thursday supporting both defendants saying the charges are “gross overreach of federal law enforcement power".

Earlier this week, 56 former federal prosecutors filed an amicus brief questioning how prosecutors appealed the bail package that was originally granted to the defendants.

"They should not be saying that the history and characteristics of a defendant should be put aside," said attorney Brian Jacobs, a partner at Morvillo Abramowitz Law Firm. 

Oral arguments for the bail hearing are scheduled for Tuesday. A ruling will determine if the defendants will go home detained with an electronic monitoring device or remain in jail while the case proceeds.