Black-led Women's Running Group 'TrailblazHers' sue Boston Marathon Organizers and Newton Police Chief

From TrailblazHers Run Co. via CNN Photo Source: From TrailblazHers Run Co. via CNN

An all-women, Black-led running group known as the TrailblazHers, has recently filed a lawsuit against the organizers of the Boston Marathon, the city of Newton, Massachusetts, and Newton Police Chief John Carmichael.

The lawsuit originates from allegations of racial discrimination that the group experienced during the 2023 Boston Marathon race. Specifically, the lawsuit details Newton police blocking the group's path to cheer on runners at Mile 21. Mile 21 holds particular importance for the plaintiffs, as it has been a gathering point for the group for the past four years.

According to the complaint, Newton police officers formed a barricade at Mile 21, blocking over 100 spectators, “mostly people of color,” from viewing the race and cheering on runners. The group claims that while white spectators were allowed to freely interact with and celebrate the runners, non-white spectators were targeted and harassed by police. A photo of the incident is included in the lawsuit and there have been reports of video footage that documented law enforcement’s interactions that day. The group asserts that the police violated their constitutional right to equal protection under the law, as guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment.

Following the incident, Newton Police released a statement addressing the situation, stating that the Boston Athletic Association had reported to law enforcement about spectators crossing the rope boundaries set in place to keep them from interfering with runners. After spectators continued to cross the rope despite verbal instructions not to, the police then established a human barricade to ensure the safety of both runners and the surrounding crowds.

In response to the lawsuit, Newton Police Chief John Carmichael defended the actions of his officers via a Facebook post, stating that they acted appropriately and respectfully during the event.

However, the TrailblazHers claim that despite multiple meetings with the Boston Athletics Association and city officials to address the incident, no meaningful reforms have been implemented to prevent racial profiling and harassment in the future.

Represented by Lawyers for Civil Rights, the TrailblazHers are seeking “compensatory, punitive, and nominal damages” through a jury trial.

Selena Richards
Selena Richards
Selena earned her Bachelor's Degree in Psychology from Brandman University, laying the foundation for her interest in and understanding of human behavior. She works full-time at Law Commentary and is dedicated to merging her passion for pop culture with legal insights. Combining her analytical skills and interest in staying updated on trends, she strives to deliver pop culture legal news, bridging the gap between law and contemporary society.
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