go down through the "sheer weight of numbers"

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Allegro molto

Senior Member

One man who was at the bus stop, Royston Westbrook, told the court that Mr. Lawrence had gone down through the "sheer weight of numbers"; he said the attackers had rained blows and kicks on Mr. Lawrence in silence, then "walked off quite casually," with the whole attack taking less than 10 seconds.
(from Racial Justice in Britain on Trial, the NYT, the IHT)

Does 'gone down' mean 'fallen down' or 'been defeated'?

Thank you
  • Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    It means "been forced to the ground, been beaten to the ground" here (or I suppose, more dispassionately: had gone from standing to lying on the ground). A later sentence confirms this: Mr. Brooks testified in tears that he had seen one youth with a “shiny metal weapon” about a foot long thrust it downward at Mr. Lawrence, who had fallen to the sidewalk.
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