Jeramey Jannene

Shorewood Spitter Found Guilty For 2020 Protest Confrontation

Stephanie Rapkin spit in face of Black teenager protesting for racial equity.

By - Apr 20th, 2023 02:58 pm
Stephanie Rapkin. Left - video still from Caress Gonazalez Ramirez, right - video still from Payton Hanrahan.

Stephanie Rapkin. Left – video still from Caress Gonazalez Ramirez, right – video still from Payton Hanrahan.

Stephanie Rapkin, who was given the moniker the “Shorewood Spitter” in 2020 after a video appeared to show her spitting in the face of a racial justice protester, was found guilty of disorderly conduct Wednesday.

On June 6, 2020, Rapkin, who is white, parked and exited her vehicle on N. Oakland Ave. as thousands of people engaged in a protest march approached. Multiple people, as captured on video, asked her to move her vehicle. But she did not comply, and instead was accused of spitting on a then-17-year-old Black teenager from the march. In a since-restricted Facebook video she is seen jumping and jerking her head forward.

A jury spent approximately three hours deliberating before returning a guilty verdict Wednesday. A hate-crime modifier was removed from the charge in 2021. A sentencing hearing for the misdemeanor charge is scheduled for May 23. The maximum penalty is 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Rapkin’s attorney Anthony Cotton argued his client acted in self-defense after being confronted by the teenager, Eric Lucas. Assistant district attorney James Griffin argued Rapkin, 67, had several options to avoid the march or not spit on Lucas.

After she spat on Lucas, people pulled her away from the crowd, but in another since-restricted video, Rapkin could be heard saying “I can’t breathe” as she sits in a corner. “Neither could George, that’s the whole point,” says someone off camera, referencing George Floyd being choked to death under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer.

The disorderly conduct charge isn’t the end of it for Rapkin.

She still faces a felony charge for battery to a police officer relating to a protest that took place outside of her Shorewood home following the incident.

The day after she spat at Lucas, the sidewalk in front of her home was targeted for an act of civil disobedience. People suggested covering her public sidewalk in chalk messages in support of the protests, including a message of “Black Lives Matter.” Messages were also added including “I spit on a child” and “racist lives here” with arrows towards the house.

Police arrived, but allowed the protesters to continue and left. Then Rapkin emerged from her house and began to talk to the chalk artists. She then pushed one of the participants, a white male college student. The police were called again.

The Shorewood Police Department entered her home and removed her in handcuffs. The department says one of its officers was kneed in the groin during the incident.

A trial for that second incident, charged as the Class H felony “Battery or Threat to Judge, Prosecutor, or Law Enforcement Officer,” is scheduled for August 18. Both criminal cases are before Judge Laura Crivello.

Lucas also has an open civil lawsuit against Rapkin. William F. Sulton represents him on the case. Ronald E. English III represents Rapkin.

Rapkin previously worked as an estate planning and probate attorney.



More about the 2020 Racial Justice Protests

Read more about 2020 Racial Justice Protests here

More about the Spitting Incident

Read more about Spitting Incident here

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