According to the Associated Press, Kristina Graper allegedly threatened the child on May 10 while he was playing at a neighborhood park with her son. Graper’s child reportedly pushed the boy and that shove resulted in the boy “breaking a foam missile or foam bullet” that belonged to Graper’s son. After her child ran home to tell her what happened, she went to the park and threatened the young Black boy by telling him that she would “kneel on his neck.” A witness intervened and told Graper that her behavior was unnecessary, however, she started yelling at the bystander.
Additionally, Graper called the child a racial slur before fleeing the park to head home.
The young Black boy’s mother called the local police to file a report about the incident. When authorities met with Graper on June 1, she denied saying she would kneel on the boy’s neck, but instead, she said, “you wonder why you guys get fucking kneeled on,” according to the complaint.
The child, who is now troubled due to the incident, understood the remarks that Graper made to be a reference to the murder of George Floyd, which took place last year. He began crying when he heard her comments and has been scared to go back to the park. The young boy said he will only go back to the area “when other children are there to help keep him safe,” read the complaint.
On Thursday (Oct. 7), Attorney General John Formella announced the beginning of an enforcement action by the Civil Rights Unit against Graper. “(The boy’s) race motivated the defendant’s threat,” Formella wrote. “The very nature of the defendant’s threat invoked (the boy’s) race as the threat was a reference to the widely-publicized murder of George Floyd. The defendant’s use of racial slurs directed at (the boy) further evidenced the racial motivation for the defendant’s threat.”
A preliminary hearing is set for Nov. 17. Graper could face a maximum civil penalty of $5,000 for her actions.