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Mequon attorney charged with hate crime for spitting on teen protester (UPDATED)

Photo of Stephanie Rapkin

Stephanie Rapkin

The Mequon attorney Stephanie Rapkin has been charged with a hate crime and felony battery for spitting on a teenage protester and kneeing a police officer in the groin.

Online court records show Rapkin was charged on June 12 with misdemeanor disorderly conduct with a hate-crime modifier and felony battery or threat to a judge, prosecutor or law enforcement officer.

Rapkin was first arrested on June 6 after she had parked her car in the street, blocking a peaceful protest.

The criminal complaint said one of the protesters, 17-year-old Eric Lucas, told police he approached Rapkin and started chanting “I’m Black and I’m proud” with his friends. He said she spit in his face as they were chanting.

According to the criminal complaint, Rapkin told an officer she was a cancer survivor and felt threatened because the protesters surrounded her without masks on, but the complaint notes that she wasn’t wearing a mask at the time of the incident either.

On Sunday, another video showed her pushing a protester outside her Shorewood home. When officers arrived to arrest her, they said she had tried to resist and kneed one of the officers in the groin.

She was taken into custody and booked at the Milwaukee County Jail, but she has since been released. Court records show Rapkin posted cash bond of $10,950 on June 10.

The maximum penalty for disorderly conduct with the hate-crime modifier is two years in prison and a $10,000 fine. The felony battery charge could result in six years in prison and an additional $10,000 fine.

At her initial appearance on July 18, court records show Rapkin’s defense counsel challenged the hate-crime penalty enhancer, and the court preserved counsel’s right to challenge. The court also entered a plea of not guilty to the disorderly conduct charge on Rapkin’s behalf.

The judge ordered Rapkin not to have contact with Lucas, unless he agrees in writing to have contact with her within a restorative justice program or meeting.

Her preliminary hearing is scheduled for July 24.

In the meantime, Milwaukee attorney Michael Maistelman, who is representing the protester Rapkin pushed on Sunday, wants Rapkin to be tested for COVID-19. He issued a press release with the demand on Friday.

“Given the horrific actions of Stephanie Rapkin at a time when COVID-19 is ravaging our country,
we demand her immediate testing for both current and past infection and to publicly release the
results,” Maistelman said in a statement.

Maistelman didn’t know if Rapkin would comply with the demand. He said she didn’t have counsel as of late Friday morning, and he and his client were “not going to engage her given everything.”

About Michaela Paukner, mpaukner@wislawjournal.com

Michaela Paukner is the legal reporter for the Wisconsin Law Journal. She can be reached at (414) 225-1825 or by email at mpaukner@wislawjournal.com.

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