Althea Bernstein Biography – Althea Bernstein Wiki
The United States Attorney’s Office has closed the hate crime investigation into the burning of a biracial Madison, Wisconsin, area teenager, saying they “could not establish that the attack…had occurred.” Althea Bernstein alleged that four white men poured a flammable liquid on her and set her face on fire at a downtown Madison intersection last June, sparking national news coverage and outrage throughout the country.
Now, however, authorities, both federal and local, say they have closed the case “for lack of evidence.” The case file, which was released by Madison police, shows a painstaking effort by detectives to reconstruct Bernstein’s car on surveillance video.
“After a thorough investigation of the events of June 24, 2020, including in-depth interviews, a thorough review of traffic and surveillance videos, and an expert review of digital and forensic evidence, federal investigators determined that no there is sufficient evidence to show that a violation of any “federal criminal statute occurred,” said an Oct. 2 press release from the US Attorney.
“Furthermore, after reviewing all the available evidence, the authorities were unable to establish that the attack, as the complainant alleges, had occurred. Consequently, the federal investigation into this incident was closed due to lack of evidence, ”the federal statement said.
Questions arose because authorities never released video surveillance footage of any suspects, Bernstein initially described them as a group of people, but later compared them to the boys from the fraternity and said they were white men, it took 17 hours to report the attack and a bombing. of a city-county building was happening around the same time nearby as the protests grew disorderly. As the months went by, the police remained silent and did not provide updates on an arson case that prompted the young woman to Good Morning America. However, behind the scenes, they were compiling an exhaustive trove of video evidence to try to find any signs that the attack occurred. Now they said they couldn’t establish that.
The federal press release says Bernstein reported that, on June 24, 2020, “she was attacked while being stopped at a traffic light by four men who doused her with a flammable liquid, threw a burning object to ignite the liquid, and thus meanwhile, they caused burns to his face and neck. Federal and local agents met with the complainant and her representatives to inform them of the results of the investigation and the decision to close the federal investigation.
The police released a video timeline, which you can view here. Read the police reports here. Read the written timeline, which includes photos, here.
Acting Madison Police Chief Victor Wahl issued a similar statement, announcing that his department was also closing Bernstein’s investigation “after a thorough investigation. Detectives were unable to corroborate or locate evidence consistent with what was reported. The Madison Police Department devoted significant resources to this case. The investigation was carried out by the Violent Crimes Unit of the MPD, with the support of the Forensic Services Unit and the Central District. Detectives conducted numerous interviews, reviewed lengthy videos, and analyzed physical / digital evidence during the course of the investigation. MPD was assisted in these efforts by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Wisconsin Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI). ”
Police, who called the Bernstein Cooperative, also released a statement from Bernstein’s family, who wrote: “Althea Bernstein and her family appreciate the detailed investigative efforts of everyone involved in this case. Althea’s injuries are healing and the support of our community has been invaluable in that regard. We continue to maintain the privacy of our family and we will not be conducting interviews at this time. ”
The United States Attorney’s Civil Rights Division and the FBI were involved in the investigation. State and local police were also involved.
In a statement when the incident was reported, Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway called it “a horrible and absolutely unacceptable crime that I will not tolerate in Madison. While we are still learning more about the details, current information suggests that this may have been a premeditated crime targeting people of color, making the incident even more disturbing. ”
Althea Bernstein is an 18-year-old biracial woman from Madison.
“Victim believes she was driving on W. Gorham St. when she stopped at a red light on State St.,” Madison police wrote in their initial press release. “The driver’s side window was down and he heard someone yell a racial epithet. She looked and saw four men, all white. She says one used a spray bottle to apply a liquid to her face and neck, and then threw a flaming lighter at it, setting the liquid on fire. ”
The incident occurred during a night and early morning of riots in Madison that also led to a state senator being beaten. The unrest was sparked after police arrested a man who entered a restaurant with a megaphone and a bat and began accusing people of being racist.
According to a police news release when the incident was first reported, the Madison Police Department said it was “investigating an assault on an 18-year-old biracial woman as a hate crime after she was burned with liquid for lighter early Wednesday morning. ”
The statement continued: “He drove forward, put out the flames and finally drove home. Her mother encouraged her to go to the hospital. Hospital staff believed the liquid to be lighter fluid. She received treatment for burns and will need to have follow-up visits to access additional medical care. ”
Michael Johnson, president of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Dane County, released a statement from Bernstein’s family saying they were “saddened by what happened to Althea and the unprovoked attack on her body.” At this time, our family asks everyone to respect our privacy while Althea is recovering from burns to her face and neck. ”
According to the police press release, investigators “were looking at surveillance footage to see if anything from the assault was caught on camera.”
They asked “anyone with information on this crime … to contact Madison-area Crime Stoppers at (608) 266-6014 or by computer at P3Tips.com.” The police press release refers to an “injured person” and says the incident occurred at 1 a.m. on June 24, 2020 in the 300 block of State Street.
There is a Change.org petition seeking justice for Bernstein.
According to Madison365, Bernstein is an emergency medical technician and is studying to be a firefighter and paramedic. She is studying at Madison College.
“She was minding her own business and sitting in a car and someone decided to pour liquid on her face and set her on fire,” Johnson told the Cap Times. “That is a hate crime. They pointed her out because of the color of her skin. ”
When he was in 10th grade, Bernstein wrote an essay that is still available on Aldo Leopold.org. “My dad has shown me that it is important to take care of our land. My dad is not the president, a celebrity or in the NFL, but I think he is just as important. This shows that anyone can and should participate in the care of our land. Without our land, we would have nothing. Everything we have comes from the materials that our land has provided us with. Anyone can take care of the earth, no matter who you are. I hope that people like my dad inspire others to include the land in their community, ”he says in part.
That essay says she was homeschooled, lived in the Madison area her entire life, liked to travel, and worked at a veterinary clinic. “In addition to volunteering at the Aldo Leopold Nature Center, Althea works at a veterinary clinic, cares for her own growing family of pets, and sings and dances,” she explains. A website that did in the past shows you with your family, friends and enjoying the outdoors.
Bernstein said in an interview with WKOW-TV: “I never thought something like this would happen.” That station reported that he suffered “second and third degree burns on one side of his face.”
She told the station: “I think the most important thing is to vote and make sure you are voting for the people who support what you want,” adding: “People have come from all over to take care of me and to take care of me. family. People have been leaving flowers and there is a nice chalk in front of our house. ”
To Madison365.com, she gave additional details, saying:
I was listening to music at a stoplight and all of a sudden I heard someone yell the n-word very loud. I turned my head to look and someone was pouring lighter fluid at me. And then they threw a lighter at me, and my neck caught fire and I tried to put it out, but I brushed it on my face. I pulled it out and then went through the red light … felt like I needed to escape. So I ran through the red light and kept driving until I got to my brother and Middleton.
To that publication, she described the attackers as “classic Wisconsin frat boys,” two wearing all black, two in jeans, and all apparently drunk. She also said that her mother told her to call for medical help. She ended up at the hospital, where her skin was decontaminated. She also told the publication that she was advised not to call the police at first “because I was high as a kite” on pain medication, so she called them later in the day that Wednesday. “She said she was told they wouldn’t be able to take a statement because they were too busy preparing for protests, but that they would investigate,” Madison365.com reported.