Bi-racial woman says men threw lighter fluid on her, MPD investigating incident as hate crime

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MADISON, Wis. — The Madison Police Department is investigating the assault of a bi-racial 18-year-old woman as a hate crime after she was burned with lighter fluid early Wednesday morning.

The woman was stopped at a red light on West Gorham Street near State Street, according to a release by the Madison Police Department.

The woman said her driver’s side window was down and she heard someone yell a racial epithet. She noticed four white men outside, the release said.

The woman told police one of the men used a spray bottle to spray liquid on her face and neck. The woman said a flaming lighter was then thrown at her. The lighter caused the liquid to ignite, police said.

The woman said she patted out the flames and drove home where her mother encouraged her to go to the hospital, the release said.

Hospital staff believe the liquid was lighter fluid. The woman was treated for burns and will need to return for follow up care, the release said.

Investigators are looking at surveillance images to see if the assault was captured on camera, police said.

Anyone with information on this crime is asked to contact Madison Area Crime Stoppers at (608) 266-6014 or by computer at