Good Samaritan helping lost toddler gets beat up by parents, Facebook shamed
Police, however, called him a “good Samaritan” in their statement.
The Lakeland Patch reports that the man, who is unidentified by police, spotted the two-year-old girl wandering around looking lost at a local sports complex where he was attending to watch some friends play softball. The man walked around with the child to see if she would point them out but the situation got out of control when other citizens alerted the parents.
Her father, Austin Strickland, assumed the worst and attacked the man, punching him a half-dozen times.
“I then tried to explain to everyone on the original post that he was trying to help, but it didn’t matter to them”.
The man decided not to file charges against the girl’s father.
It didn’t stop with the punches, however.
A kind-hearted man who was helping a little girl find her parents was wrongfully vilified by people on social media who misinterpreted an altercation that took place at a baseball game.
After the police statement made it apparent that the posts were false, the residents began to delete the misinformation from their Facebook feeds. “I wanted to kill him!” But the dad tells us all he saw was this unusual man walking towards this parking lot with his daughter.
‘We had an independent eyewitness that saw him walking around, asking, ‘Is this your parents?
Speaking with FOX 13 News, Sgt. Gary Gross said the Good Samaritan did the right thing.
Despite the man’s innocence, several posts were published on social media defaming his character.
Police noted that anyone spreading false information on social media “could be held libel” for the damage they cause. “Before posting information on matters such as this, we encourage people to identify the source and the validity of such claims before sharing them”. He was called a child predator, which led to the police releasing a warning about posting inaccurate information.
Utpaul Patel, the Good Samaritan who police say was trying to locate the young girl’s parents after she wandered off a ball field, moved away from his hometown of Lakeland after he was erroneously labeled a child predator on social media.
“I was one of those who shared post thinking it was helpful, now I feel terrible that it clearly was not!”
Police officers thoroughly investigated this incident and interviewed witnesses, and based upon their investigation, determined no crime was committed.
“I was particularly interested in the post because this guy lives two houses away from me”, James Jordan wrote.