Mayor Rhodes-Conway condemns hate crime against woman: “Horrifying and absolutely unacceptable”

Althea Bernstein, before and after a hate crime in Madison
Althea Bernstein, before and after a hate crime in Madison(Althea Bernstein)
Published: Jun. 25, 2020 at 7:05 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway is calling a recent hate crime against a woman in the city “horrifying and absolutely unacceptable” and asked police to use “all available resources” to find the suspects.

The Madison Police Department on Thursday launched a hate crime investigation after an 18-year-old Black woman reported being doused with lighter fluid and then set on fire on Wednesday.

The victim, Althea Bernstein, told officers that four white man began yelling racial slurs at her at State Street and Gorham Street in downtown Madison around 1 a.m. The white men then sprayed liquid on her face and neck and then someone threw a flaming lighter, setting her face ablaze, according to police.

Mayor Rhodes-Conway said in a statement that “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,” according to the mayor.

The mayor continues that she spoke to the family of Althea Bernstein and expressed her sympathies and commitment to bringing suspects to justice.

According to the mayor:

Everybody in Madison deserves to feel safe, and it is up to every single one of us to make that true. We must show kindness and compassion for each other, and we must care about the safety and well-being of those around us. I will do everything in my power to help support and protect people in Madison and quickly address any criminal activity that threatens our safety.

Satya Rhodes-Conway

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