SHOREWOOD — Standing bravely in front of cameras, Shorewood Junior Eric Lucas discussed the incident he endured on Saturday after 64-year-old Stephanie Rapkin was accused of spitting on him during a peaceful protest.
“Black lives have always and continue to matter, and be equal to each and every person. At this time I continue to be mentally and physically shaken to be assaulted by an adult in my community during a pandemic was traumatic. Again and again, I’m viewed not as a child, but as a color,” said Lucas.
The incident happened during the end of a peaceful Black Lives Matter rally. Eric says he is still shaken by the events that unfolded.
“I am disappointed in feeling unloved by individuals I’ve done no harm to. Injustice anywhere is a detriment to just everywhere,” said Lucas.
Ilijah Taylor Jordan was seen in the cell phone video holding Eric back after the incident. He said it was important for them to respond with restraint.
“I was making sure none of us made the wrong decision that would lead the whole protest, the whole marching, everything we did in the wrong direction….Spit we can wipe that off, we are going to keep moving, she’s just a little factor an obstacle that we will come over as we are matching," said Jordan.
“I am proud of the way Eric and the other organizers maintained their commitment to peace despite this appalling play of racial hatred,” said Shorewood Superintendent Bryan Davis.
Ilijah’s mother, Ivorena Taylor, said seeing someone spit on children who were calling for peace and change was appalling.
“I was livid. Absolutely livid. That nastiest thing you can do to any human being to be is to spit on them,” said Taylor.
Hours after the incident Rapkin was arrested, cited, and released. Less than 24 hours later, she was back in police custody, after police said she pushed a protester outside her home and kneed an officer in the groin. Ivorena said Rapkin should have stayed behind bars the first time.
“The fact that she was able to spit on a black child, peacefully arrested and was released basically saying 'we couldn’t hold her because of COVID-19,' I believe is ridiculous,” said Taylor.
State Representative David Bowen said the children got a crash course in the harsh realities this country is facing. He said he is proud of the way they responded, that despite coming face-to-face with hate, they continued to move the mission of equality forward.
“They are focused on justice and making sure we address this issue,” said Bowen.
Eric said his family does not harbor any hate but they want justice.
The Shorewood Superintendent is asking for a hate crime enhancer on Rapkin's charges. The Shorewood Police Department will be seeking charges of Battery, Disorderly Conduct, Battery to a Law Enforcement Officer, and Resisting/Obstructing an Officer.