Biracial US Jewish woman says she was set on fire in attack probed as hate crime
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Biracial US Jewish woman says she was set on fire in attack probed as hate crime

Althea Bernstein claims 4 white men were involved, one spraying lighter fluid, tossing flame at her as she sat in car and causing burn injuries to her face

Althea Bernstein, who says she received burns to her face after being set alight by an attacker as she sat in her car in the US state of Wisconsin, on June 24, 2020. (Screen capture: YouTube)
Althea Bernstein, who says she received burns to her face after being set alight by an attacker as she sat in her car in the US state of Wisconsin, on June 24, 2020. (Screen capture: YouTube)

JTA — A biracial Jewish woman in Madison, Wisconsin, said she was attacked and set on fire by four white men.

Police were probing the early Wednesday incident as a hate crime, CBS News reported.

The woman, Althea Bernstein, said someone yelled a racial epithet at her while her car was stopped at a light and her window was down. Bernstein, 18, said she saw four white men, and one sprayed liquid and threw a lighter on her, setting her on fire. She was treated at a hospital for burns on her face.

Michael Johnson, a spokesman for the family, said that Bernstein identifies as “a biracial African-American,” and that the family “is culturally Jewish as well as Unitarian.”

The American Jewish Committee in a tweet on Monday praised the police and FBI for probing the incident as a hate crime.

Johnson said in a statement from the family reported by CBS 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 Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway called the incident “horrifying and absolutely unacceptable,” according to Channel 3000.

“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,” Rhodes-Conway said.

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