A Pennsylvania man who had been wronged by police officers in the past saved a police officer from a burning cruiser after it crashed outside a Uniontown apartment.
Daylan McLee was at a Father’s Day cookout at an apartment complex when a relative came running inside to inform him that there was a car crash involving a police cruiser, KDKA reported.
McLee looked outside and saw that the officer was pinned to the ground by his cruiser following the crash.
“I don’t know what came across me, but I ripped the door open and just pulled him to safety across the street,” McLee said Monday.
Uniontown Police Lt. Thomas Kolencik said the department was thankful McLee was around when the crash happened.
“Daylan actually said, ‘I’m not going to let him die,’” Kolencik told WTAE. “There’s just no words to describe, you know.”
The officer was flown to a hospital in Morgantown, West Virginia, for treatment.
Several of Officer Jay Hanley’s relatives thanked McLee over the phone and on social media, noting that Hanley was undergoing surgery to repair a serious leg injury suffered during the crash.
McLee, 31, said it was not a difficult decision for him to save the officer’s life despite his unjust run-ins with law enforcement because he believes “there is value in every human life.”
“No. There is value in every human life. We are all children of God and I can’t imagine just watching anyone burn,” he said. “No matter what other people have done to me, or other officers, I thought, ‘this guy deserves to make it home safely to his family.’”
But just because there is value in every human life does not mean that he did not seek out justice for a mistake the police made that cost him a year of his life behind bars.
The 31-year-old filed a lawsuit in late 2018 against four Pennsylvania state troopers for wrongful arrest after spending a year in jail related to a fight outside an American Legion bar in March 2016 in Dunbar.
McLee rushed to the bar to pick up his sister when a fight broke out. He wound up disarming a man standing in the parking lot with a gun and pushed the weapon aside. At least one trooper fired shots in McLee’s direction as he fled.
The trooper said McLee aimed the weapon at him twice, but surveillance footage showed McLee disarming the gunman, discarding the gun, and fleeing when shots were fired.
McLee, a black man with visible tattoos on his neck and arms and dreadlocks, spent one year behind bars before a jury acquitted him on the charges after reviewing the surveillance video.
Another incident with officers occurred several months ago when McLee ran from a porch gathering after plainclothes and vested officers with guns drawn approached him. He said the officers did not announce themselves as police at first, and he stopped running and placed his hands behind his head when they announced they were police.
McLee said the police charged him with fleeing and resisting arrest, and said that an officer kicked his face through a fence during that arrest, splitting his lip. He plans to fight the charges.
As far as the rescue goes, McLee does not think of himself as a “hero,” but just wants to be recognized as an “upstanding man” in society.
“I don’t want to be called a hero. I just want to be known as an individual who is an upstanding man. No matter… what or where, just an upstanding person,” he added. “And I hope (that trooper) sees this and knows he’s forgiven.”