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Another Hate Crime In Madison, Simply Dreadful

June 25, 2020

This story chills all in the city.  

Our collective humanity must rise up and reassert itself.  Madison is a much better place than recent headlines.  Think of what our grandmothers would heed us to do….and then do it!  Come on, Madison!

An 18-year-old Black woman says she was attacked with lighter fluid and flame early Wednesday morning by white men yelling racial slurs. She sustained second- and third-degree burns.

Althea Bernstein works as an EMT while studying to be a paramedic and firefighter. She says she was on her way to her brother’s house at around 1 am Wednesday when she reached a stoplight on Gorham Street near State Street in downtown Madison. She doesn’t remember for sure which intersection it was.

“I was listening to some music at a stoplight and then all of a sudden I heard someone yell the N-word really loud,” she said in an interview Wednesday. “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. I got it out and then I just blasted through the red light …  I just felt like I needed to get away. So I drove through the red light and just kept driving until I got to my brother and Middleton.”

A police incident report says the assailants used a spray bottle to spray lighter fluid on her face.

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