Upstate NY woman set fire to police van with Molotov cocktail: NYPD

Brooklyn
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Firefighters work to contain the flames from a New York City Police Department van in Brooklyn on Friday, May 29, 2020.

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PROSPECT PARK — A woman from upstate New York is accused of throwing a lit Molotov cocktail at an NYPD vehicle during a protest Friday night, setting it ablaze with four officers inside, according to police.

Samantha Shader, 27, threw the Molotov cocktail at the rear window of the van while it was parked at the corner of Eastern Parkway and Washington Avenue, near Prospect Park, around 10:40 p.m. according to the NYPD.

The officers were able to quickly get out of the vehicle before it became engulfed in flames, police said.

Officers were able to arrest Shader, and she bit one of the cops in the leg while she was taken into custody, according to police.

Her sister, 21-year-old Darian Shader, tried to interfere with the arrest, police said. She was taken into custody and charged with obstructing governmental administration and resisting arrest.

Samantha Shader is charged with four counts of attempted murder of a police officer, attempted arson, criminal possession of a weapon and reckless endangerment.

Both women are from Catskill, New York, which is roughly 130 miles — more than a two-hour drive — from Prospect Park.

About 3,000 people descended on the streets of Brooklyn Friday to protest the police custody killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Demonstrations have been taking place across the country this week in the wake of Floyd’s death, as tensions boil over between police and communities of color.

Floyd, who is black, died on Memorial Day after a white police officer knelt on his neck for nearly 9 minutes during his arrest, which was caught on bystander video. Floyd is heard in the video repeatedly asking for help, saying he can’t breathe.

“I can’t breathe” were the last words of Eric Garner, who died in police custody on Staten Island in 2014. Garner’s death is widely considered one of the touchstones of the current Black Lives Matter movement.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Saturday he will ask New York Attorney General Letitia James to investigate the police-protester clashes that took place in Brooklyn on Friday.

More than 200 people were arrested and dozens of officers were injured, according to NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea, who welcomed the independent review.

Speaking at a news conference Saturday morning, both Shea and Mayor Bill de Blasio acknowledged there were incidents during Friday’s demonstrations that the NYPD could have handled better, but added there is zero tolerance for violent behavior.

The police commissioner also noted that, as with the Shader sisters, police are seeing some people from out of town come into the city during protests to commit violence.

Both officials urged demonstrators to protest peacefully.

“Any and all violence, we denounce. We can do better than this,” Shea said.

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