Black Running Club Barricaded By Police While Cheering At Boston Marathon

Photo: Getty Images

A predominantly Black running club in Massachusetts was encircled by a swarm of police officers as they cheered on runners participating in the Boston Marathon.

Mike Remy, a member of the Pioneer Run Crew, said his running club set up a cheer zone to support Boston Marathon runners on Monday (April 17) as they passed mile 21 of their 26.2-mile trek, per BuzzFeed News. Like many onlookers of the race, the group gave high fives to oncoming runners and offered encouragement to carry them through the rest of the marathon.

However, Pioneer Run Crew's cheers were quelled after police arrived around noon.

“It felt like a traffic stop,” Remy told BuzzFeed News. “There was one cop on a bike kind of cruising back and forth. After doing about four passes, he came back with some friends.”

Eventually, the Black running crew was encircled by over a dozen police officers who barricaded them from the street and watched them from behind on motorcycles.

“There just aren't a lot of Black and brown people into the sport,” Remy said. “It just doesn't feel like a coincidence that the cheer zone that was policed is the cheer zone that was organized by Black and brown people.”

Asia Rawls, who also participated in cheering on marathon runners, said she felt "upset" when police began to barricade the group.

“We didn't hand out anything, not even a bottle of water,” Rawls said. “We didn't hand out beer or alcohol. It was just simply happiness.”

As officers formed a "human barricade" around the group, they didn't inform the crew what they were doing wrong, Remy said.

“They were not really giving much of an explanation of what went wrong, what rule was violated or whatever,” he said. “All I heard was that they said there was an incident, and now they’re here.”

Videos of the incident have gone viral, with many social media users calling out the disproportionate and racist policing that Black people face.

“Disappointing. Triggering. Not okay. This moment wrecked the vibe of something truly celebratory and beautiful,” one Instagram user wrote.

The Metropolitan Law Enforcement Council, who had officers dispatched to Mile 21 at the Boston Marathon, hasn't spoken out about the incident, according to BuzzFeed News.

"Running While Black" author Alison Mariella Désir said this type of situation isn't new to running.

“Yesterday was supposed to be a celebration,” Désir told BuzzFeed News. “But running exists in the same context of this country in this world which is rooted in white supremacy. So we have to intentionally address the way that it shows up.”

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