Autistic teen assaulted during cross country meet by man who feared getting mugged
A 15-year-old African-American teenager decided to quit his high school cross country team after he was assaulted in the middle of a race, according to the Washington Post.
Chase Coleman, who is nearly nonverbal due to his autism, was attacked by Martin MacDonald, a 57-year-old Caucasian man, during a race in Rochester earlier this month with the Corcoran High School Cross country team.
When confronted by police, MacDonald said that he pushed Coleman out of fear of being assaulted. MacDonald said his car was recently broken into by black teens. According to witnesses, MacDonald yelled “Get out of here” when he pushed Coleman.
“I see a grown man, who is quite tall and fairly heavy … exit the vehicle and give this young man a shove that puts him back 10 feet and flat on his butt,” the witness Kris Van Metter told Syracuse.com. “Like, just shoved him across the road. The kid didn’t seem to be doing anything but standing there, obviously had nothing in his hands and weighed all of 130 pounds. This guy was easily twice that.”
His mother, Clarise Coleman, is outraged at the man.
“Chase don’t even know how to defend himself,” Clarise Coleman told the Washington Post. “What? He can barely ride a bike. [Chase] was in a uniform. He had a number pinned to him. How did you think that he was out trolling to steal your car? … You can’t tell me that it wasn’t because my son wasn’t black. There were Asian kids, there were Caucasian kids. But you picked the black kid to say, ‘That crossed my mind’?”
MacDonald has not been charged with any crime. A warrant application that was filed by Clarise Coleman was rejected.
Chase Coleman turned in his uniform and did not finish the season with his team.
“We just keep telling him, ‘You didn’t do anything wrong. Chase is good. There are mean people and there nice people and this person was just a mean person,’” Clarise said. “We just keep apologizing to him that happened. Especially me. I kept apologizing to him that I couldn’t keep him safe.”