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15-Year-Old Cross Country Runner With Autism Assaulted After Wandering Off Course

Photo credit: Darron Cummings/AP

Over the weekend, the Syracuse Post-Standard reported on the sad story of Chase Coleman. Coleman is a skinny, black, 15-year-old, autistic boy who got confused in the middle of a cross country race, ran off course and into a nearby street, and was subsequently shoved to the ground by a large white man, who had to get out of his car to do so. Witnesses helped police track down the assailant, 57-year-old Martin MacDonald, who admitted to shoving Coleman because he thought the youth—wearing a maroon cross country uniform with a number pinned to the front and running shoes—was going to steal his wife’s purse, which was in the car, along with his wife.

Here’s the kicker: Though Coleman’s family tried to press assault charges against MacDonald, a Rochester, N.Y. judge denied an arrest warrant that would’ve charged MacDonald for second-degree harassment. Its worth noting that the police report—in which MacDonald admitted to getting out of his car and shoving an unarmed kid half his size in a cross country uniform and shouting “Get out of here” at him—labeled the interaction an “argument.” Which is an odd designation, because Coleman rarely talks at all.


Well, that’s not really the kicker. This, according to the Washington Post, is:

The week after the assault, which took place on a Friday, Chase refused to go to practices and skipped running in his last meet of the season. Crestfallen, Coleman watched as her son turned his running uniform in to his coach, who gently encouraged him to change his mind. Chase refused.

After media attention was paid to the case, yesterday Rochester police decided to renew the investigation.

[Syracuse Post-Standard]

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