Lawyer who spat on anti-racism protestor in 2020 convicted
Apr 20, 2023, 8:44 AM
MILWAUKEE (AP) — A white lawyer was convicted for spitting on a Black high school student during a 2020 anti-racism march in a Milwaukee suburb.
A jury reached the verdict Wednesday in the trial of Stephanie Rapkin, 67, of Shorewood, Wisconsin, finding her guilty of misdemeanor disorderly conduct.
Rapkin faces sentencing for the misdemeanor charge later this week and is charged separately with a felony assault on a police officer who arrested her at her home the day after the spitting incident.
In June of 2020, Rapkin showed up at the protest in Shorewood and parked her car in the street, blocking the anti-racism march that was one of thousands held around the U.S. in the wake of the murder of George Floyd by a police officer.
When protesters approached her to urge her to move her car, video shows Rapkin spitting on Eric Lucas, then a 17-year-old junior at Shorewood High School. Lucas had helped organize and lead the march.
According to the criminal complaint, Rapkin told an investigating officer she was a cancer survivor and felt threatened because she was surrounded by protesters who were not wearing coronavirus protective masks.
Video shows Rapkin did not wear a mask.
In court on Tuesday, Rapkin said that she spit toward Lucas, but not on him, according to WDJT-TV.
Defense attorney Anthony Cotton told reporters following the trial that Rapkin is remorseful and that her career has been ruined.
“She definitely has regret over what happened,” Cotton said.
Rapkin faces up to 90 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000 when she’s sentenced on May 23.
Rapkin had been charged with disorderly conduct as a hate crime, but a judge dismissed the enhancement of that charge.
She’s still charged with assaulting a police officer, according to court documents, and is scheduled for a trial in August.
Shorewood police went to Rapkin’s home the day after the protest following her encounter with the protesters. She resisted arrest and kneed one officer in the groin, the criminal complaint said.