Stephanie Rapkin, a 64-year-old white lawyer in Shorewood, Wisconsin, has been charged with a hate crime after a now-viral video showed her spitting on a black student at a peaceful protest against racism and police brutality last weekend, The Associated Press reports.
Rapkin was taken into police custody last weekend and officially charged by the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office with disorderly conduct as a hate crime and battery to a police officer.
The incident took place after Rapkin was asked by protesters to move her car, which was parked in the middle of the street in an effort to prevent protesters from marching forward.
In a video of the attack, she is seen spitting on 17-year-old Eric Lucas, a junior at Shorewood High who helped to organize and lead the demonstration.
According to the AP, Rapkin said in a criminal complaint that she felt threatened over fears of coronavirus because she is a cancer survivor and protesters were not wearing masks.
Video shows that Rapkin, however, was not wearing a mask herself.
the teenager told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Monday that he is still “mentally and physically shaken” after the ordeal.
“To be assaulted by an adult in my own community during a pandemic was traumatic,” he told the newspaper. “Again and again, I am viewed not as a child but as a color.”
According to the criminal complaint against Rapkin, she resisted arrest and kneed an officer in the groin last weekend when approached over the viral video.
In the video, Rapkin insists she did nothing wrong, but admits, “I spit on a man who attacked me.”
Those filming the incident point out that the initial video does not show her ever being touched by Lucas or any of the protesters.