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Man Beaten, Facebook Shamed For Helping Lost Girl: Cops

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jnelsoninjax    12,394

LAKELAND, FL — A man who tried to help a lost 2-year-old girl find her family at a Lakeland sports complex over the weekend was beaten and accused of kidnapping for his troubles, according to police.

The repercussions the good Samaritan faced didn’t end when the Lakeland Police Department declined to press charges against him either. The little girl’s family and their friends also took to Facebook to call out the man as a predator, the police department reported.

The incident that ignited the brouhaha began to unfold shortly before 3:30 p.m. June 24 at the 1444 W. Highland St. Southwest Sports Complex. The good Samaritan was at the park to watch friends play softball, a police report said. The man, who police describe as the victim in the case, overheard several people say there was a small child lost in the complex.

Moments later, the report said, the man spotted a 2-year-old girl wandering around alone. The man went to the girl and asked her to show him were her daddy was, the report said. The girl pointed toward the playground, so the man took her hand and began walking in that direction.

As they walked, the victim asked the little girl if any of the men they passed happened to be her father. The child said no several times, “but soon began to become agitated,” the report said. She tried to pull away, but the victim was concerned for her safety so he picked her up and continued to walk toward the playground “hoping that he would be able to locate the child’s father,” the report said.

When the two were nearing the playground, three men approached the victim from behind. One of the men took the girl from the victim’s hands while the other two hit the victim “in the face, repeatedly,” the report said.

The investigating officer noted the victim’s face was swollen and had several cuts.

After speaking to the parties involved and talking with a witness who heard the victim repeatedly ask the little girl if men they saw happened to be her father, the officer decided no crime had been committed by the victim. Instead, the report noted, the the victim was asked if he wanted to press charges against the men who hit him.

While the victim declined to seek prosecution on battery charges, saying he understood how the incident could be “perceived incorrectly,” the father was not happy with the outcome. The report noted the little girl’s dad was “increasingly agitated” that charges would not be filed against the man he found his daughter with.

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“So, I guess in Lakeland, you can kidnap a child and get away with it,” the 22-year-old man was quoted in the report as saying to the officer. After a little back and forth between the family and bystanders, the officer noted that none of them “could provide any evidence that the victim’s actions were made, attempting to ‘kidnap’ or ‘falsely imprison’” the little girl.

While no charges were filed against the victim, the report did note that a temporary trespass warning was issued to the man. That warning had expired by Monday, Sgt. Gary Gross told Patch.

The outcome didn’t sit well with the little girl’s family and their friends, the police department said. After the incident, they took to Facebook and Twitter to share the man’s name and photos, calling him out as a predator, police said.

The social media posts, which have since mostly been taken down, have Gross warning residents to think twice before they post or share such information.

"We encourage people not to jump (to conclusions) or speculate," Gross said. "Call whatever law enforcement agency is in your jurisdiction to get the correct information."

Gross said he was proud to report several people did just that after coming across the posts about the victim on Facebook.

Not taking the time to vet information can lead to defamation of character and libel claims he warned. "You could victimize another person."

Source

 

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LimeMaster    15,601

Poor guy! Now I can understand why most people are scared to do anything when they see someone in trouble. :s

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The Evil Overlord    18,442

And this is stupidity at it's finest.

A good Samaritan beaten for trying to help a lost child, I wonder how they would have felt if the worst happened... (rhetorical)

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Rippleman    3,851

I play devils advocate to a fault so I must say.... this guy COULD just be telling a story for cover. If he was indeed there to watch his "friends", identify the "friends" to see if they know him for verification. Even if he was still doesn't make him innocent or guilty, but only step you can take to verify even just a part of a story. I wonder if by chance they have video surveillance around there, would easy case if they did.

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Shiranui    1,920

The victim should have just stood still with the girl and called the police.

The father should be penalised for letting a 2-year-old out of his sight.

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+Red King    2,466

Never ever approach or talk to children.

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LostCat    1,370
1 hour ago, J. X. Maxwell said:

Never ever approach or talk to children.

or have them you sick bastards

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Nashy    1,662

And people ALWAYS ask why when these kids go missing, or something strange happens, us men sit back and do nothing.  The world has itself to blame. 

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jnelsoninjax    12,394
9 hours ago, Nashy said:

And people ALWAYS ask why when these kids go missing, or something strange happens, us men sit back and do nothing.  The world has itself to blame. 

So true. Society now has us convinced that if we talk to a women, then that's sexual harassment, if we talk or interact with a child then we will be branded as pedophiles for the rest of our lives. We should not have to live a fear of something happening to us for doing something good. 

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MikeChipshop    3,458
12 hours ago, Shiranui said:

The victim should have just stood still with the girl and called the police.

The father should be penalised for letting a 2-year-old out of his sight.

Exactly this. Unfortunately this is the world we live in now folks. 

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LostCat    1,370
35 minutes ago, MikeChipshop said:

Exactly this. Unfortunately this is the world we live in now folks. 

Not everyone has a phone.  I wish I didn't, cause I could use the money for more important things.

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