Police in Madison, Wisconsin, are investigating an alleged assault on an 18-year-old biracial woman as a possible hate crime. Althea Bernstein said she was driving in downtown Madison early Wednesday morning with her window down when she stopped at a red light and heard someone yell a racial slur, police said. She said she looked around and saw a group of white men outside, one of whom then sprayed something on her before tossing a lighter at her. “My neck caught on fire and I tried to put it out, but I brushed it up onto my face. I got it out and then I just blasted through the red light… I just felt like I needed to get away. So I drove through the red light and just kept driving until I got to my brother,” she told local news outlet Madison365. “I never really knew someone could hate you just by looking at you… I was just driving my car and minding my own business.”
Bernstein later went to the hospital at her mother’s urging and was treated for burns, police said. Investigators are now hoping to find surveillance footage of the attack, which is said to have taken place just a few blocks from the scene of chaotic protests on Tuesday night.