'Physically shaken:' Teen speaks out after being spit on during demonstration

Eric Lucas

SHOREWOOD -- The teen who was spit on during a peaceful demonstration in Shorewood in Saturday, June 6 spoke out Monday morning, June 8 during a press conference held by the Shorewood School District -- as school leaders called for hate crime charges.

"I continue to be mentally and physically shaken to be assaulted by an adult in my own community," said Eric Lucas, Shorewood High School junior.

Lucas said this wasn't the first time he's been the victim of racism. This was just the first time it was caught on camera.

"Again and again, I am viewed not as a child, but as a color," said Lucas.

Police arrested a 64-year-old Stephanie Rapkin Saturday night, June 6, accused of spitting in a juvenile protester's face during a peaceful demonstration earlier in the day. On Sunday, as people decorated the sidewalk with chalk outside her home, police said she became physical with a protester, and she was taken into custody again.

School officials Monday asked the Milwaukee County district attorney to include a hate-crime enhancer on any charges against Rapkin, who is a licensed attorney. The district attorney's office will begin reviewing the case Tuesday.

"It was truly appalling," said Superintendent Bryan Davis. "If we, as Milwaukee County are going to treat racism as the crisis that it is, we must make sure that law enforcement and our criminal justice system look at these types of instances through a racially motivated lens."

"Our family harbors no hate but does request that justice be prompt and appropriate," said Lucas.

On Saturday, police said the woman and the boy -- both of Shorewood -- had a verbal altercation near N. Oakland Drive and E. Capitol Drive around 4:30 p.m. Stephanie Rapkin, who is a licensed attorney, was arrested just after 10 p.m. Saturday.

The confrontation happened just as the demonstration was starting to wrap up. Witnesses said the woman parked her car in the middle of the intersection outside Metro Market on Oakland -- blocking the group.

"She just kept saying we're an inconvenience and that she had to go to the store," said Caress Gonzalez, who recorded the altercation.

In the video, the woman ignores people urging her to get back in her vehicle. As the crowd approached, rather than turning away, she's seen spitting in a young man's face.

"That's disgusting," said Gonzalez. "No normal human being would do that."

Later that night, the woman was arrested at her home.

"There had to be some accountability," said Shavonda Sisson. "It couldn't be quiet."

Sisson was part of the group that filmed the arrest.

"She didn't choose to spit on a white person," said Sisson. "She waited until a black child was in front of her -- to spit right in his face."

On Sunday, police confirmed they arrested the woman after responding to a call for a battery around 3:45 p.m.

According to police, the victim said he was peacefully protesting on the sidewalk in front of the woman's home when she came out and engaged in a verbal confrontation with protesters. The victim said she slapped both of her hands on his chest, and pushed him. She then returned to her home.

Police said after numerous attempts, they were able to make contact with her -- and she was advised she was under arrest for battery and disorderly conduct. At this point, police said she resisted officers' attempts to place her in handcuffs -- kneeing an officer in the groin. She was placed in custody and taken to Shorewood PD to complete the booking process.

Police are seeking charges of battery, disorderly conduct, battery to a law enforcement officer and resisting/obstructing.

"There is no easy escape from this," said Sisson. "She will be held accountable."

According to a release posted on Facebook Sunday morning, Shorewood police said the woman was arrested and booked Saturday night, but due to the coronavirus pandemic, they were unable to take her to the Milwaukee County Jail.

On Sunday, Shorewood police noted contact was made with the Milwaukee County Jail and MCSO officials advised they would be willing to accept her into custody for this incident.

FOX6 News on Sunday night received a complaint filed against Rapkin by another attorney with the Office of Lawyer Regulation regarding her actions/arrest.