Colinford Mattis is a father, a son, a brother, a friend, an advocate, and a dedicated and respected member of our community. On Saturday, May 30, Colin was arrested and taken into custody, and he is now being charged by the federal government with causing damage by fire to an empty police vehicle. The narrative told by the government and much of the media has attempted to erase Colin’s accomplishments and contributions to the communities of which he is a part.
In October 2020, he pleaded guilty in federal court in Brooklyn to one count apiece of possession of a destructive device, as part of a deal worked out between their lawyers and federal prosecutors in Brooklyn. They could face up to 10 years in prison when they are sentenced on Feb. 8, though the judge, Brian Cogan, said that the date might change.
Colin is an exemplary individual who has committed his personal and professional life to helping others and to making the world a better place. Upon graduation from Princeton, he spent two years in New Orleans teaching students from disadvantaged communities. As an attorney, he has zealously advocated for women in poverty. He was awarded the 2019 Commitment to Justice Award by Her Justice for his pro bono work with the organization, helping a low-income client secure child support. In law school, as part of the Family Defense Clinic, Colin represented low-income parents in Brooklyn Family Court.
Colin was born and raised in Brooklyn, and lives in his mother’s East New York home, with his sister Lyris, and his three young foster siblings. He moved back home after his mother’s passing last year, and has since been an extraordinarily committed and involved parent to the three children—attending every parent teacher conference at school, and encouraging, supporting, and educating the kids at home. His other siblings, Ernie, Doreen, and Octavia, all live nearby in the same neighborhood, and Colin is a huge provider of both emotional and financial support to them all. Beyond his family, we could elaborate with countless other examples of how Colin has impacted the lives of others, how he has been a mentor to so many of us, and upheld the voices of the most vulnerable amongst us, all while lifting our spirits with his good nature and wit.