Saturday, 19 January, 2019

'Good Samaritan' bullied, beaten and called a kidnapper after helping lost child

Good Samaritan beaten called a kidnapper after helping lost child Lakeland Police Department via CNN
Alfredo Watts | 29 June, 2017, 08:53

Lakeland police said in their statement that "this incident truly involved a good Samaritan trying to assist a lost child finding their parents".

According to NBC affiliate WFLA-TV, the man found the two year old girl Saturday inside a Lakeland park.

It got so bad the Lakeland Police Department had to take to its own Facebook to clear things up. Lakeland Police Sgt. Gary Gross spoke about the posts that were made about the man and warned others about posting information without knowing. He attempted to ask the girl where her parents were and walked with her in hopes she could point them out. But the dad tells us all he saw was this odd man walking towards this parking lot with his daughter.

Three men found the man and the little girl.

The girl's father admits he punched the man several times because he believed the man was trying to leave the playground with his daughter.

Police officers thoroughly investigated this incident and interviewed witnesses, and based upon their investigation, determined no crime was committed.

Family and friends of the toddler posted the man's name, picture and place of employment on Facebook, calling him a child predator. WFLA called him, but he was too terrified to talk.

The father and his friends were not satisfied with the man's explanation or that of the police.

"This guy is a father, a local businessman, has two children, was trying to help this child but they turned it completely around", Gross told the station, "And that's not right".

Though Patel, who is also a father, reportedly was hit with several damaging punches from Strickland, Patel decided not to press charges.

"When I got there, I just swung on him", Strickland told WFTS.

To quickly combat the spread of false information, Lakeland police posted the facts - and a warning: "Be careful about what you post on social media so as to not victimize an innocent person". "I wanted to kill the man".

Soon after, the story leaked online - but posts were blaming the man for allegedly trying to kidnap the little girl. "Posting false information on Facebook could cause a defamation of character claim and those posting false information could be held liable", reads the statement.

"It's understandable how parents can possibly be upset in a situation involving a lost child", the department said.

'Before posting information on matters such as this, we encourage people to identify the source and the validity of such claims before sharing them'.