Lawyer who spat on anti-racism protester picks jail over probation

MILWAUKEE (AP) — A white lawyer who spat on a Black high school student during an anti-racism march in suburban Milwaukee in 2020 has chosen jail over probation.

Stephanie Rapkin, a 67-year-old Shorewood attorney, was convicted of misdemeanor disorderly conduct in April in connection with the incident.

Milwaukee County Judge Laura Crivello on Tuesday offered Rapkin leniency, staying a 60-day jail sentence for a year of probation with the condition that she put in 100 hours of community service, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

But Rapkin said no one would ever accept her and she wanted to go to jail.

“It’s not viable,” she said. “I’d rather go to jail right now and take care of it.”

Crivello imposed the 60-day sentence and bailiffs led Rapkin out of the courtroom in handcuffs.

It wasn’t immediately clear what exactly Rapkin meant by her comments. Her attorney, Anthony Cotton, told reporters the day she was convicted that her career has been ruined. Cotton didn’t immediately respond to an email Tuesday from The Associated Press seeking clarification about why Rapkin refused probation.

Cotton told the Journal Sentinel on Tuesday that Rapkin own neighbors won’t associate with her and that she has received death threats and been labeled a racist.

In June 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 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.

Rapkin had been charged with disorderly conduct as a hate crime, but a judge dismissed the enhancement in July 2021.

She still faces a charge of assaulting the police officer who arrested her at her home the day after the march. According to the criminal complaint, Rapkin kneed him in the groin.

A jury trial has been scheduled for August to resolve that charge.

Rapkin focused her legal work on estate planning and probate law. She has published two books and served on charitable boards, Cotton wrote in a letter to the court.