A white woman could be left without a criminal record after she spat on a Black woman during a protest in Connecticut after she was allowed to enter a special probation program on July 21, The Associated Press reported.
Although prosecutors continue to pursue a hate crime charge against 45-year-old Yuliya Gilshteyn after she spat on Black Lives Matter activist Keren Prescott at a protest outside of the Hartford Capitol building in January, Gilshteyn was granted accelerated rehabilitation on Wednesday, a special probation program for first-time offenders. Over the next two years, she will have to complete 100 hours of an anti-hate curriculum.
If Gilshteyn completes all of the classes and fulfills the other terms of the agreement, all charges will be dropped, including the hate crimes charge of deprivation of rights, third-degree attempt to commit assault, first-degree reckless endangerment and risk of injury to a child.
At Jan. 6 protests about various causes out the state Capitol, Gilshteyn spat on Keren Prescott, an activist who is the founder of the group Power Up Manchester, which seeks to address racial disparities and promote civic engagement.
Prescott, a mother of three, told the Journal Inquirer that she was outside of the building saying “Black Lives Matter” when a woman now identified as Gilshteyn said “All Lives Matter,” then asked about “Black on Black crime.”
Prescott said it doesn’t exist because crime between other races isn’t labeled that way, then began to ask Gilshteyn to back up because she was not wearing a mask. Gilshteyn then spat on her and ran away as an officer watched. Gilshteyn was arrested and initially charged with breach of peace, although the charges were updated after authorities reviewed footage of the incident obtained by WTNH. Both Prescott and her daughter have asthma.
In court Wednesday, Hartford Superior Court Judge Sheila Prats, addressing Prescott after her testimony about the impact the incident had on her, said Gilshteyn’s actions were not serious enough for her to be denied entry to the probation program. “It is serious. It is serious to you, it’s serious to this moment we’re in,” Prats said. “It’s despicable … I don’t believe [Gilshteyn] 100 percent, because if all life mattered, she wouldn’t do that to you.”
But Prescott said outside the courthouse after the hearing the ruling wad “the epitome of white privilege.”
She continued, “What is she going to learn walking away from this unscathed? What the judge did today was egregious and dangerous and it sets the tone for the next time.”