Following a racially fraught incident at the 2023 Boston Marathon, a Black-led running crew on Thursday filed a discrimination lawsuit against the Boston Athletic Association and the city of Newton.

Spectators from the PIONEERS Run Crew and TrailblazHers Run Co. were running along part of the course as members of their clubs competing in the marathon passed by, cheering for their fellow runners at mile 21 in Newton.

The BAA then notified Newton Police, who responded to the scene. Videos and photos of the event show about a dozen police officers with bikes lined up along Commonwealth Avenue, facing the spectators in the two running clubs and forming a barrier between them and the course route, as members of the groups questioned why the officers were there.

Now, Lawyers for Civil Rights has filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of TrailblazHers Run Co., claiming that Newton and the BAA were racial profiling and harassing the cheering group, who were mostly people of color. They are seeking compensation for the “emotional distress and trauma” caused by the incident.

Lawyers for Civil Rights alleges that white spectators in nearby locations who engaged in the same celebratory activity received no BAA or police response.

Iván Espinoza-Madrigal, executive director for Lawyers for Civil Rights, said he hopes the lawsuit will make sure the incident isn’t repeated at Monday’s marathon.

“It is critical that this type of public event welcomes everyone from the community, including black runners and spectators,” Espinoza-Madrigal said. “At the same time, we have seen that police have targeted Black spectators, specifically at mile 21 in Newton last year. This is unacceptable. It's also illegal.

“It is critical that all Black spectators and runners experience and enjoy the marathon without over-policing, without being illegally surveilled and without being targeted, threatened and intimidated by police,” he continued.

A BAA spokesperson said that the organization has not yet been able to review the suit but is aware of it.

“We are confident that the B.A.A. and our partners are prepared for a Boston Marathon that is welcoming to the 30,000 participants, spectators and eight cities and towns along the route,” a BAA spokesperson said in a statement to GBH News. “We are focused on creating a joyous experience for all. While the B.A.A. is aware of the complaint, we have not yet had the opportunity to review it.”

Founders of TrailblazHers said in a press release that they are “deeply disappointed” in the response the BAA has had to the group's concerns.

“Over the years we have worked tirelessly to make running more accessible to BIPOC runners in Boston, and we expected the BAA to be a partner in this endeavor,” co-founder Liz Rock said. “However, their actions have not lived up to their words.”

Espinoza-Madrigal said treatment for all marathon spectators was not equal last year — and that it’s important that the marathon proceeds as a fair place for everyone.

“The overwhelming show of force and police presence last year is inappropriate because it was specifically deployed against Black people,” he said. “If there are rules about staying clear of the course or creating enough distance between the audience and the running course, those rules need to be applied equally and fairly across the board.

“But that’s not what we’re seeing. We are seeing white spectators crossing the rope, entering the course and not being policed or otherwise monitored by the Boston Athletic Association or law enforcement. But when Black people do those same things, they get punished. They get threatened with arrest. They get harassed and intimidated,” he continued. “That is unfair. That is discrimination.”