FBI joins case of woman set on fire in racist attack

    Althea Bernstein. Photo supplied.

    The Federal Bureau of Investigation has joined the investigation into an alleged racist attack on an 18-year-old EMT and aspiring paramedic early Wednesday morning.

    As Madison365 reported first Thursday, Althea Bernstein said she was driving through downtown Madison around 1 am Wednesday, just as protests were winding down on the Capitol Square. She said four white men approached her car, and one used a spray bottle to deploy a liquid — later determined to be lighter fluid — and lit it, giving her burns on her face and neck.

    Madison Police Department spokesman Joel Despain said a detective has been in contact with the victim and is reviewing surveillance video and other evidence. He said the detective confirmed Friday that the FBI has joined the investigation due to the “egregious” nature of the assault and the national attention the case has received.

    He said he was not aware of whether any specific evidence or information led to the FBI’s involvement.

    Bernstein told her story this morning on Good Morning America on the ABC network.

    We will continue to pursue this story and provide updates as they become available.