A fake Facebook post caused a group of vigilantes to beat a homeless man in Modesto, California, reported CBS News. This incident further illustrates the wrongful marginalization of the homeless in America.
The fake Facebook post said that a homeless man was breaking into Modesto homes and assaulting women. The post spread among Modesto residents. The Modesto Police Department announced on Twitter that the post was untrue.
The post ultimately caused a group of vigilantes to attack the innocent homeless man, who authorities believe suffer from mental illness.
This post is false. We have had no reports of anyone attacked. Please share. We fear this man may become a victim. pic.twitter.com/eNzK7TXBcQ
— Modesto Police Dept (@ModestoPolice) June 27, 2015
Despite the alarmist nature of the post, Modesto police and city residents commented that the homeless man described in the post never caused trouble nor attacked anyone. Reportedly, the most he had done was verbally harass people. Such agitation is usually a sign of mental illness.
“That whole area was in a panic, and my boyfriend was like, ‘no you have to drive to work, and I’ll pick you up,’” said Hope Davis, a Modesto resident.
Davis also mentioned that the man once visited her home and asked to borrow some blankets, but that was the extent of their interaction. “He just left,” David continued. “There was no aggression other than, you know, than the fact it was a little creepy.”
The homeless man declined to press charges and denied any medical attention.
Homelessness is an epidemic in America, and this incident shows exactly how our society has marginalized the homeless. Society needs to be helping and treating the homeless with some dignity, instead of beating them because of false scares on social media.