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New York woman who threw Molotov cocktail at police van blames three Black strangers for 'making her do it'

Samantha Shader is facing federal explosive charges and will be looking at life behind bars if convicted
Samantha Shader (Pottawatomie County Public Safety Center)
Samantha Shader (Pottawatomie County Public Safety Center)

CATSKILL, NEW YORK: A New York woman who is facing federal explosive charges after she was filmed hurling a Molotov cocktail at an NYPD van full of law enforcement officials in Brooklyn claimed that three Black strangers made her commit the act, court documents have revealed.

Samantha Shader, 27, of Catskill, was captured on a blurry video holding a lighter to what appeared to be an empty bottle, lurching back, and then throwing it into a van with four police officers inside. But then, nothing happened, and when she tried to flee, she was arrested. Charging documents later revealed the object was a Molotov cocktail, an incendiary device that consists of a bottle filled with a flammable liquid and is used by igniting a rag that is stuffed in its neck.  Prosecutors said the only reason it did not go off was because she tried to use toilet paper as a fuse.

New court papers obtained by the New York Post stated that Shader admitted to throwing the Molotov but claimed she was "approached on the street and given ‘the bottle’ by a Black male, who was in a group with one other Black male and a Black woman."

She went on to describe the trio and said the man who handed her the bottle was a "thicker guy" with hair in "skinny dreads" of different colors. The other man was smaller and wore a hat, while the woman was thin with "poofy" hair in a ponytail. The 27-year-old reportedly told investigators the man who handed her the bottle told her "they were going to prove a point" and that she felt "important at the time she took the bottle because she was the only White person in the area."

However, it was alleged that she drove to Brooklyn with her sister in a car loaded with empty glass bottles, including the Bulleit whiskey bottle she is charged with throwing at the police van.

This past week, authorities arrested Timothy Amerman, 29, of Saugerties, in connection to the incident, and accused him of providing the supplies for the attack that Shader eventually carried out. In his indictment, obtained by NBC New York, they highlighted a note found in their car which read, "I found a few more glass bottles Than I thought I had, Though still not many. Wish I had more,” he wrote. “BE SAFE Please. Really[.] Good Luck, – Love Tim."

Amerman's fingerprints were found on the note by the FBI Laboratory in Quantico, and when confronted, he admitted he had written it. He said the note accompanied a bag containing two cans of paint, masks, rope, plastic baggies, and marijuana. He told investigators he believed Shader planned to throw bottles at the police but that he wasn't aware she wanted to create Molotov cocktails.

He has been charged with civil disorder and civil disorder conspiracy, and if convicted, faces up to 10 years in prison. Shader, on the other hand, is facing charges of the use of explosives, arson, use of explosives to commit a felony, arson conspiracy, use of a destructive device, civil disorder, and making or possessing a destructive device and is looking at life in prison.