David Rivas Morales, 40, was beaten to death by a crowd of about 20 to 30 people Tuesday night in Austin, Texas during the annual Juneteenth celebration.
Morales was passenger in a car that had struck a young girl, about 3 or 4 years old, in the entrance to an apartment complex. When the driver stopped, he and Morales exited the vehicle to check on the girl. A crowd came and shortly thereafter Morales was left lying dead. An autopsy later declared his death the result of blunt force trauma. The driver was able to get away in his vehicle. He is cooperating with police investigating the situation. The young girl was taken to a hospital. She was not seriously injured.

“It’s that same crowd mindset of being one face in 1,000. Things get out of hand pretty quickly and people don’t have the good sense to stop,” said Harold Piatt of the Austin Police Department.

This type of violence is an example of herd behavior, a common type of behavior in animals, often in response to a predator. In humans, herd behavior is generally synonymous with mob violence. It is closely linked to the social phenomen known as “diffusion of responsibility,” in which a group allows an action to occur that each individual would normally never allow.


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Diffusion of Responsibility

Herd Behavior

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