18-Year-Old Althea Bernstein Was Set On Fire By Four White Men In Wisconsin

18-Year-Old Althea Bernstein Was Set On Fire By Four White Men In Wisconsin

An 18-year-old biracial woman, Althea Bernstein was allegedly set on fire by four white men. According to Bernstein, who was on her way to her brother’s place, she stopped her vehicle at the intersection of West Gorham Street and State Street at about 1a.m when she was approached by four white men, one of whom yelled a racial epithet. She said she was waiting at a stoplight in downtown Madison, Wisconsin, and suffered second- and third-degree burns after the men used a spray bottle to douse her with lighter fluid before throwing a lighter at her. 

“I was listening to some music at a stoplight and then all of a sudden I heard someone yell the N-word really loud and I turned my head to look and somebody’s throwing lighter fluid on me. And then they threw a lighter at me, and my neck caught on fire and I tried to put it out, but I brushed it up onto my face”, she told Madison Police. Following the attack, Bernstein put out the fire and drove home, and was later treated at a nearby hospital. Bernstein described the men as “classic Wisconsin frat boys” who appeared to be intoxicated. 


The president of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Dane County, Michael Johnson, released a statement on behalf of Bernstein’s family stating that 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.” 

Madison Police are investigating a possible hate crime and are reviewing surveillance images to see if the alleged assault was captured on camera asked anyone with useful information on this crime to contact Madison Area Crime Stoppers at (608) 266-6014 or by computer at P3Tips.com.

How long are we going to live in fear of being attacked?

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