A civil rights complaint was filed against a woman accused of telling a Black child who accidentally broke her son’s toy that she would “kneel on his neck” and calling him a racial slur, the New Hampshire attorney general’s office said Thursday.
Kristina Graper, 51, of Dover, threatened the 9-year-old boy who was playing in a neighborhood park with her son on May 10, according to the complaint filed in Strafford County Superior Court.
Graper’s son pushed the boy, and that push resulted in the boy “breaking a foam missile or foam bullet” that belonged to Graper’s son. Her son ran home to tell her what happened.
Graper then went back to the park and found the other child, threatening him that she would “kneel on his neck,” according to the complaint. A witness told Graper that her behavior was unnecessary, and then Graper started yelling at that person. She called the child a racial slur before returning home, the complaint said.
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Graper’s race was not mentioned in the complaint.
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The child’s mother later called police.
When Graper met with them on June 1, she denied saying she would kneel on the boy’s neck, but instead said words to the effect of, “you wonder why you guys get (expletive) kneeled on,” according to the complaint.
The complaint said the encounter distressed the child, who understood the comments to be a reference to the murder of George Floyd last year. He began to cry when he heard her words and has been afraid to return to the park, and will only do so “when other children are there to help keep him safe,” the complaint said.
Last year, millions of people watched the footage of Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, pleading for air as a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck until he stopped breathing. Former Officer Derek Chauvin was convicted in April on charges of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd’s death.
The Associated Press left phone and email messages for Graper. Messages also were left at possible social media contacts for her. There was no lawyer listed for her in the case file.
A civil rights violation allows for a maximum civil penalty of $5,000. The court may also enjoin further violations of the Civil Rights Act.
The Civil Rights Unit enforces state and federal civil rights laws, including the New Hampshire Civil Rights Act and the New Hampshire Law Against Discrimination. Anyone who believes their civil rights may have been violated may file a complaint at www.doj.nh.gov/civil-rights/ or by calling 603-271-3650.