Man who spent year in jail on false charges rescues cop from burning carJune 26, 2020
A Pennsylvania man who was once falsely accused of pointing a gun at a cop recently saved an officer from a burning car, according to a report.
Daylan McLee — who spent a year in jail awaiting trial on the bogus charges — was at a family Father’s Day cookout in Uniontown, PA, when he heard a loud crash.
The brave 31-year-old ran outside and pulled Officer Jay Hanley from the mangled patrol car as flames began to spread into the cabin, saving the cop’s life.
“There is value in every human life. We are all children of God and I can’t imagine just watching anyone burn,” McLee told the Associated Press.
“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.’”
The dad of two had previous run-ins with the police, including being arrested in March 2016 outside an American Legion bar in Dunbar, PA, where a fight had broken out.
A Pennsylvania State Police trooper had said that McLee pointed a weapon at him twice.
But security footage showed that McLee had actually disarmed a man at the scene, and then quickly discarded the gun.
McLee, who is black, spent a year behind bars before a jury acquitted him of the charges after reviewing the video, according to the AP.
He filed a lawsuit in late 2018 against four troopers for wrongful arrest. The suit claims the officers lied in a police report about the incident and falsified charges against McLee after one of the troopers fired two shots at him and hit a nearby house.
A few months ago, McLee had another encounter with police, in which he said he ran from a porch gathering after plainclothes cops approached with guns drawn.
The cops did not announce they were officers, and he stopped running and put his hands behind his head when they yelled they were police, McLee said.
He said he was charged with fleeing and resisting arrest, and that an officer kicked him in the face through a fence, splitting his lip, as he was being taken into custody.
McLee said the use of force was caught on a security camera and he plans to fight the charges.
Still, he stressed the importance of forgiveness, saying he couldn’t blame every police officer for bad interactions he had with any others.
“We need to work on our humanity…,” McLee said. “You can’t base every day of your life off of one interaction you have with one individual.”
Uniontown Police Lt. Thomas Kolencik’s voice cracked as he told WTAE-Pittsburgh that the department was thankful McLee was nearby when the crash happened.
“Daylan actually said, ‘I’m not going to let him die,’” Kolencik told the TV station. “There’s just no words to describe, you know.”
Several of Officer Hanley’s relatives have thanked McLee for his heroic act, as have other cops and even the police chief.
Officials said Hanley is recovering after undergoing surgery for a serious injury to his leg that he sustained during the crash.
After the collision, McLee said he realized he had spoken to Hanley maybe three weeks earlier when the officer was on patrol.
“I realized after, that I’d seen him. He speaks to people; he says hello; he isn’t an officer that harasses anybody. He commented to me about the heat was coming for us,” he said.
McLee said he is trying to teach his 13-year-old son Avian not to judge others for the color of their skin, what job they have or what other people may say about them.
“Some people may think I look intimidating… and I can’t hate the trooper who shot at me for what he doesn’t know,” McLee said.
“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.”
With Post wires
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