Autistic teen runner from Corcoran High School attacked by a 57-year-old stranger


SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- A Corcoran High School ninth grader who is autistic was attacked by a middle-aged stranger during a cross country race in Rochester a few weeks ago.

The attack happened on October 14th during a cross-country race sponsored by Omega Psi Phi Fraternity called the Purple and Gold Invitational.

During the race, 15-year-old Chase T. Coleman, who is an autistic non-verbal cross country runner, was attacked by a 57-year-old man. The suspect allegedly got out of his car and shoved Chase down to the ground. After the attack the suspect fled the scene of 100 Culver Road.

The mother of the child did not witness the attack first hand but was notified by witness Collin Thompson, according to the Rochester Police Department.

The witness told Police that she was running in the park around the reservoir when she noticed a young black male in the middle of the road and an older white male who got out of his vehicle. The suspect, allegedly approached Coleman and pushed him to the ground. Then proceeded to yell at him saying "Get out of here."

Chase's mother, Clarise Coleman, said her son was in the road at the time of the incident because he was participating in the race.

While being interviewed by a Police Officer who was dispatched to the area, the alleged attacker admitted that he had pushed Coleman to the ground because he thought Coleman was going to mug his wife and steal her purse.

At the time of the incident, the man's wife was in the front seat of the vehicle he was operating.

He later told Police his car had recently been broken into, which crossed his mind before he pushed Coleman. The suspect told the officer that Coleman, who is non-verbal, was not responding to him when he told him to leave the road.

On October 21st the Monroe County District Attorney's Office informed Coleman that Judge Caroline Morrison of Rochester City Court has denied the warrant application for the arrest of the suspect for charges of 2nd Degree Harassment.

"They are treating him like a third class citizen. He has the double whammy, he's black and has a disability. So it's not important, that's what Rochester is telling me," said his mother.

On October 25th, Susan Boyle of the Syracuse Common Council reached out to District Attorney Sandra Doorley of Rochester to ask why the warrant was not granted and the crime unpunished, saying the progress Coleman has made in his extra-curricular's "To be lost due to a racist, aggressive, unprovoked attack on an African American minor with absolutely no consequences is, for lack of a stronger word, unacceptable."

The letter further went on to request an explanation why the action should go unpunished, adding "Chase Coleman deserves and answer, the parents, teacher, coaches and teammates who have worked so hard to build Chase up to a place where he feels safe and accepted.... deserves an explanation and The Syracuse City School District deserves an explanation and an assurance that all of our City School District students will be protected under the law while visiting Rochester NY."

"When he left Rochester, he did not feel safe and he lost that love and that joy. To hear him tell me 'no more practice,' that hurts," said Clarise.

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