Criminal Justice

Lawyer accused of spitting on protester, kneeing officer in groin is charged with hate crime, felony battery

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A white Wisconsin lawyer accused of spitting on a black protester and kneeing a police officer in the groin is facing criminal charges in connection with the two incidents.

Stephanie Rapkin, 64, of Shorewood, Wisconsin, is charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct with a hate crime enhancement for allegedly spitting on a youth and felony battery to a law enforcement officer who tried to arrest her the next day for an alleged physical altercation outside her home, report the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and TMJ 4.

In the first incident, Rapkin is accused of spitting on 17-year-old Eric Patrick Lucas III during a June 6 rally recorded on video. Identified only as “EPL” in the complaint, he told police that he noticed a group of people yelling at Rapkin to move her car, which was blocking the march.

He said he chanted, “I’m black, and I’m proud,” with a group of friends as they approached Rapkin. The lawyer turned and spat on him. The saliva touched his face and mouth area and the top of his shirt, he said. The video shows that he did not touch or threaten Rapkin before she spat on him, according to an officer’s probable cause statement.

Rapkin told police that she spat on the youth because she was a cancer survivor and she felt threatened when she was surrounded by protesters who did not have masks on. The video shows that Rapkin did not have on a mask.

The second incident occurred June 7. Rapkin confronted 21-year-old college student Joe Friedman, who was writing in chalk on her sidewalk. His messages included, “Be better than this,” and “I spit on a child. How dare you!”

In a video, Rapkin approaches and argues with Friedman, telling that him she spat on the boy because he attacked her. Rapkin then appears to shove the student, telling him that is how she was attacked.

When officers tried to arrest Rapkin at her home, she “resisted officers’ efforts to place her in handcuffs” and kneed an officer in the groin, the criminal complaint says.

A website describes Rapkin as an estate planning and probate attorney in Mequon, Wisconsin. She is a lawyer in good standing with no public disciplinary history.

Matthew Pinix, who is representing the 17-year-old youth, released a statement from the family to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

“An example must be set by our justice system to ensure that acts like this never occur again,” the statement said. “If we are to heal as a society, we must start by showing all those who are watching that this injustice cannot stand.”

Lawyer Michael Maistelman has asked for an ethics investigation and a COVID-19 test for Rapkin. He is representing Friedman.

Rapkin is free on $10,950 bail, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. She faces up to three years in prison if she is convicted on the charge of battery to an officer and up to a year in prison if she is convicted on the hate crime charge.

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