Chase Coleman runs with RPD recruits to raise Autism awareness

December 09, 2016 08:52 PM

Chase Coleman, the Syracuse teen who was shoved to the ground during a cross-country race at Cobbs Hill Park in October, returned to Rochester on Friday to run with Rochester police recruits.

Coleman, who has Autism, was joined by dozens of officers and recruits in a fun run to help raise awareness about it. 

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Chase's mother Clarise was very happy and grateful for this opportunity, and they had been preparing all week for the event. 

It is a far cry from a few months ago, when Clarise said her son no longer wanted to be on the cross country team after Coleman was shoved to the ground by Martin McDonald. McDonald told police he thought Coleman was going to mug his wife. He has since been sentenced to probation and community service.

Clarise Coleman was angry and upset at what happened to her son, but now she says the good outweighs the bad. She was surprised by the outpouring of support from community, as they have received hundreds of letters from people, filled with words of encouragement.

"I think he was happy," she said, "He wants to run again! It was so cute seeing him line up in formation like he's one of the cadets."

"It touched me, it made me want to cry."

Clarise says that she was glad that the support that her son has received, as well as events like this, will make him associate Rochester with good things:

"I wanted him to hear the word Rochester, and not feel like it's only because we're going to the court," she said, "I wanted him to hear the word Rochester and know we were going to do something fun."

The fun run also had a purpose for the Rochester Police Department, as it allowed them to learn more about Autism.

"We used this as an opportunity with the class to explain a little bit about Autism," said Chief Michael Ciminelli, "They are going to encounter people with issues like this, and it's so important to treat everybody with dignity and respect." 

Chase and his family were to stay overnight in Rochester, and were to take part in a spinning class for teens and young adults with Autism on Saturday. 


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