A Black woman was reportedly a victim of a hate crime in Madison, Wisconsin. The incident occurred on June 25 in an area close to a protest near the state Capitol, according to the Associated Press.
Althea Bernstein was driving near the state Capitol with her window rolled down when she stopped at a red light. She was approached by four White men and one of the men called her the N-word. Afterward, Bernstein told police that one of the men sprayed a liquid on her face and neck and threw a flaming lighter on her causing a small fire.
Bernstein said she drove forward and was able to extinguish the flames before driving home. She was encouraged by her mother to go to the hospital and was treated for second and third-degree burns.
Michael Johnson, president of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Dane County, released a statement on behalf of the Bernstein family which stated they were, “saddened at what happened to Althea and the unprovoked attack on her body. At this time, our family is asking everyone to respect our privacy as Althea is recovering from the burns on her face and neck.”
The mayor of Madison, Satya Rhodes-Conway, also issued a statement by saying, “This is a horrifying and absolutely unacceptable crime that I will not tolerate in Madison. While we are still learning more about the details, current information suggests this may have been a premeditated crime targeted toward people of color, which makes the incident even more disturbing.”
The Madison Police Department is currently investigating the incident by searching for possible witnesses and surveillance footage in the area of the alleged attack.