Bernstein told her story on Good Morning America, the NFL celebrated her, and Meghan Markle called her.
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Althea Bernstein, 18, of Madison, WI, claimed four white men spewed racial slurs at her, threw lighter fluid on her, and set her on fire.
Authorities determined no such incident occurred.
This crap really ticks me off. No wonder so many people have doubts when people cry hate crime.
A thorough investigation found that no one attacked Bernstein. The Madison Police Department stated:
The Madison Police Department dedicated significant resources to this case. The investigation was led by the MPD Violent Crime Unit, with support from the Forensic Services Unit and Central District. Detectives conducted numerous interviews, reviewed extensive video, 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).
Case findings were also reviewed by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Wisconsin and the United States Department of Justice Civil Rights Division. Both independently evaluated the facts and reached the same conclusion as MPD.
The MPD released the case documents and photos along with a timeline, statements, and video of the timeline.
Reporting officer Bailey Olson could not find any evidence while reviewing city cameras. Bernstein could not provide “exactly which street she was driving on when she came to the red light” nor could she recall the exact time.
Olson could not “locate Bernstein or the four male subjects described by Bernstein on city cameras in the area or time that Bernstein stated the incident occurred.”
The Madison Police Dept. noted that it “dedicated significant resources” to investigating Bernstein’s allegation, with detectives conducting numerous interviews, reviewing video, and analyzing physical and digital evidence.
“I think when you look at the materials and sort of the summary timeline that we provided, that really speaks for itself, but we weren’t obviously able to determine what did happen so there certainly were questions that we weren’t able to answer during this investigation,” Acting Madison PD Chief Vic Wahl told NBC15.
A statement from MPD stated Bernstein “was treated with dignity and respect at all times during the course of the investigation.” It also released a statement attributed to her family thanking police for their efforts.
“Althea Bernstein and her family appreciate the detailed investigative efforts by all 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 our family privacy and will not be granting interviews at this time,” the statement read.
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