A white woman accused of spat on a black activist during protests in the Connecticut state capitol earlier this year was given special probation on Wednesday, July 21, and the hate crime charge may even be dismissed.
According to the Hartford Courant, 45-year-old Yuliya Gilshteyn was granted expedited rehabilitation, a special probation program for first-time offenders, and completed 100 hours of anti-hate curriculum over the next two years. If she successfully completes the program, a hate crime criminal of intimidation will be dismissed on bias charge.
Gilshteyn was caught on video shouting "all life matter" and spitting at Power Up Manchester activist and founder Keren Prescott during a January 6 protest on the New England state capitol grounds.
Gilshteyn was initially arrested and charged with trespassing by the Capitol Police, but after Hartford prosecutor Sharmese Walcott reviewed the case, she upgraded the hate crime and other criminal charges. According to court records, these include attempting a third-degree attack, reckless first-degree endangerment, and the risk of injury to a child.
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During a Wednesday morning hearing, Gilshteyn apologized to Prescott, claiming her attack was "totally atypical," but the new decision enraged Prescott.
"This is the epitome of white privilege," said Prescott as he wiped away tears outside the courtroom, according to Courant. “When she attacked me and the police didn't believe me, it was a white privilege. When the police held me back and they were taken away, it was a white privilege … The fact that she was in here today and didn't even get a slap on the face is a white privilege. "
Check out the video below to see what happened.
Along with two dozen racial justice activists in the courtroom, Prescott added, “What will she learn if she gets away unharmed? What the judge did today was outrageous and dangerous and will set the tone for the next time. "
Sheila M. Prats, Hartford Superior Court judge, said she did not want to make a decision that sends a political message. The judge also determined the severity of the incident itself, following Prescott's emotional testimony, but said that it was insufficient to exclude Gilshteyn from participating in the rehabilitation program.
"It's serious. It's serious for you, it's serious for this moment we're in," said Prats. "It's despicable … I don't believe (Gilshteyn) 100 percent because when all life matters she wouldn't do that to you. "
Prosecutor Walcott told Prats she could not in good conscience agree to support her application for the program.
"It's the worst I've ever seen," Walcott said of the incident. “It was utterly disgusting … it wasn't provoked, it was inappropriate. I just can't say how I'm sitting here, this defendant has shown over the past six months that she is determined to reform. "