Wisconsin police close hate crime investigation for lack of evidence

October 8, 2020 

Federal investigators and Wisconsin police said Friday an investigation into an alleged race-based attack on a biracial woman last June hasn't produced sufficient evidence and the case has been closed.

Althea Bernstein, 18, told Madison police four white men had shouted a racial slur at her while she was stopped at a red light around 1 a.m. June 24 and threw lighter fluid and set her on fire at her through her car window.

Madison Acting Police Chief Vic Wahl issued a statement, saying, "after an exhaustive probe, detectives were unable to corroborate or locate evidence consistent with what was reported."

Madison police on Friday released more than 150 pages of reports detailing the investigation. Traffic and surveillance camera footage shows Bernstein's vehicle stopped only once and that no one was around the car. The footage also shows that her window was closed throughout and that she was traveling in the right lane, not the left as she told investigators.

PROTESTERS IN WISCONSIN CLASH WITH COPS, TOSS ROCKS AT PRIVATE HOMES AFTER DECISION NOT TO CHARGE COP IN SHOOTING

Investigators found footage indicating Bernstein wasn't downtown at the time she said she was attacked, according to investigative reports. Footage does show her in Middleton, a suburb about 15 minutes from downtown Madison, just before 1 a.m. GPS data from her phone corroborates that as her location, the reports said.

Also, no traces of lighter fluid were found in her car, which was appeared to have no damage. She did have a substance like lighter fluid on her shirt, according to the Milwaukee Sentinel Journal.

The FBI, the United States Attorney's Office and the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice had conducted extensive interviews, reviewed the available video and analyzed forensic evidence and concluded: "Authorities could not establish that the attack, as alleged by the complainant, had occurred."

The alleged attack happened the same night protesters tore down statues in Madison and attacked a state senator heading to the capitol.

Bernstein said two of her attackers were wearing floral shirts, which is associated with the far-right Boogaloo.

PROTESTERS ATTACK WISCONSIN STATE SENATOR IN CHAOTIC NIGHT AT CAPITOL: REPORT

Bernstein told officers at the hospital where she was treated for burns had thrown away a sweater with lighter fluid on it but the hospital said it had no record of that, police said, according to the Sentinel Journal.

When interviewed by Detective Justine Harris in August, Bernstein said she didn't understand why there wasn't any evidence of the attack. She said she was worried about what might happen when the reports were made public, saying she had been threatened on social media and that investigators were treating her like a suspect.

"Althea Bernstein and her family appreciate the detailed investigative efforts by all involved in this case," her family said in a statement, according to FOX 47 in Madison. "Althea's injuries are healing and the support of our community has been invaluable in that regard."

Wahl said he isn't recommending charges against Bernstein for filing a false police report, the Wisconsin State Journal reported.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Harris told Bernstein's attorney, Andrea Sumpter, that Bernstein had clearly suffered injuries to her face and that detectives were interested in whether someone else had hurt her in a different way than she had alleged.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Latest News

October 20, 2020
Justice Dept to File Antitrust Lawsuit Against Google

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department plans to accuse Google of maintaining an illegal monopoly over search and search advertising in a lawsuit to be filed on Tuesday, the government’s most significant legal challenge to a tech company’s market power in a generation, according to officials at the agency. In its suit, to be filed in […]

Read More
October 20, 2020
Rush Limbaugh Says His Lung Cancer Is ‘Going in the Wrong Direction’

Rush Limbaugh, the conservative talk radio host, said on his show on Monday that his lung cancer had grown worse and was “going in the wrong direction” despite treatment. “It’s tough to realize that the days where I do not think I’m under a death sentence are over,” he said, according to the transcript from […]

Read More
October 20, 2020
Trump Attacks Fauci Over Coronavirus

WASHINGTON — President Trump attacked Dr. Anthony S. Fauci as “a disaster” on Monday and said, despite signs that the nation was headed toward another coronavirus peak, that people were “tired” of hearing about the virus from “these idiots” in the government. The broadside, during a conference call with campaign staff just two weeks before […]

Read More
October 20, 2020
The American Rally to Stop Political Corruption
Read More
October 20, 2020
N.Y. Accuses Religious Health Cost-Sharing Group of Misleading Consumers

New York State accused a major Christian group on Tuesday of deceiving customers by illegally offering health insurance to as many as 40,000 residents since 2016. The state filed civil charges against Trinity Healthshare, the Christian group, and Aliera, a for-profit company that markets the plans. The state insurance regulators’ complaint included a list of […]

Read More
October 20, 2020
Theresa May livid as Michael Gove addresses Brexit security fears
Read More
crossmenuchevron-down