Published: Tuesday, June 27, 2017 @ 9:11 AM
By: Natalie Dreier, Cox Media Group National Content Desk
LAKELAND, Fla. — A good Samaritan did what almost anyone would do: try to reunite a lost child with his or her family.
But police in Lakeland, Florida, said that the man was beaten by the parent of the child he was trying to help.
Police said the man was with friends when he saw the 2-year-old girl alone. Thinking she was lost he walked her around hoping she would point out her parents, WFLA reported.
At the same time, the parents were told that the man was walking toward the playground and that bystanders thought he was trying to kidnap the little girl.
Three men found the man and the little girl. The father said that as one of his friends grabbed his daughter, he punched the man several times, WFLA reported.
“I saw this man with my daughter in his hands walking toward the parking lot. What would you do?” the father said to WFLA.
Police said they investigated and determined no crime had happened. They confirmed the man who was trying to help was visiting friends who happened to be off-duty deputies.
The man decided not to file charges against the girl’s father.
But the father and his friends and family aren’t taking the man at his word. They’ve gone to to social media and shared his photo, Facebook page and his business, saying he’s a child predator, WFLA reported.
Police warn that anyone who posts false information on social media could be the source of a defamation of character claim and could be held liable, WFLA reported.
Before posting to social media, police suggest calling police to verify what happened and get correct information.