George Floyd protests: Lawyer arrested twice after spitting on black teenager and slapping another the next day

·2 min read
Stephanie Rapkin's mugshot: Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office
Stephanie Rapkin's mugshot: Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office

A lawyer who spat on a teenage protester during a demonstration over George Floyd’s death has been arrested twice in two days.

According to eye witness reports from the scene on Saturday, Stephanie Rapkin, a white 64-year-old resident of the Milwaukee suburb of Shorewood, parked her car in the middle of an intersection to block an anti-racism protest, angrily ignoring demands that she get back into the car and move it.

As seen on video shot by a bystander which has since been widely shared online, Ms Rapkin angrily refused, then spat in the face of a young black protester who approached her, angering the crowd. She was arrested at her home later that night, but not transported to the Milwaukee County jail because of restrictions in place to stop the spread of Covid-19.

The next day, Ms Rapkin was arrested again after an altercation with protesters outside her home who were chalking the sidewalk with messages including “racist” and “I spat on a child”.

According to the Sherwood Police Department, Ms Rapkin came out of her house, became verbally aggressive, then slapped a protester on the chest and pushed him away from her.

She reportedly resisted officers’ attempts to handcuff her and kneed an officer in the groin, but was eventually carried out of her house and booked at the police department. She now faces several charges, including battery to a law enforcement officer.

Ms Rapkin, an attorney, has faced widespread opprobrium online, including from the State Bar of Wisconsin, whose leaders condemned her behaviour in a Facebook post.

As the leadership of the State Bar of Wisconsin,” reads the statement, “we are disturbed and disgusted by the actions of an attorney who allegedly spat in the face of a protester during a demonstration on Saturday.

“We do not condone this behavior under any circumstance – period. The State Bar of Wisconsin champions integrity, civility, and respect in dealings with the public, colleagues, clients, and the courts.

“The behavior of lawyers and others directly contributes to the public’s confidence in our justice system. We unequivocally support equal justice and the right of all citizens to peacefully protest.”

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