Despite past encounters, Black man saves white police officer from his burning vehicle
Daylan McLee's heroism is being praised because he acted in spite of an active lawsuit against another police agency
A Pennsylvania man is being hailed a hero after he saved the life of a white police officer who was trapped in his burning patrol car following a crash. But what makes his actions even more praiseworthy is his history of wrongful imprisonment.
Sunday, Daylan McLee was having a Father’s Day barbecue at his house in Uniontown when he heard the crash and ran to the aide of officer Jay Hanley. According to reports, McLee wasted no time “ripping open” open the patrol car’s door and dragging Hanley to safety just as the vehicle burst into flames.
Daylan McLee says when he saw a Uniontown officer pinned inside a burning police cruiser Father’s Day he thought, “I know this man is my brother through Christ and I couldn’t leave him behind.” He is credited with saving the officer’s life. A hero’s message @KDKA Tonight. pic.twitter.com/xoXlXXnWhy
— PamSuranoKDKA (@PamSuranoKDKA) June 23, 2020
By some miracle, both men escaped with non-life-threatening injuries. And while risking your life to save a stranger is notable in itself, many were taken aback by McLee’s heroics given his history with police. McLee sued four Pennsylvania state police for wrongful arrest in 2018 after he spent a year in jail in a case of mistaken identity.
At the time, responding officers mistook him for a gunman during a bar brawl. Despite being seen on camera disarming the actual gunman and tossing the gun aside, then fleeing, McLee was arrested and spent a year in jail.
In another incident, a few months ago, McLee was charged with resisting arrest and fleeing when undercover police raided a home he was at during a gathering. He alleges he was kicked in the mouth during his arrest and is fighting the charges.
“We need to work on our humanity… that’s the main problem of this world,” explained McLee. “We’re stuck on how to get up or to get even, and that is not how I was raised to be. You learn, you live, you move on and I was always taught to forgive big.”
“You can’t base every day of your life off of one interaction you have with one individual,” he added.
McLee’s lawyer, Alec Wright told NBC10 he’s not surprised by his client’s actions.
“Over the course of his life, Daylan McLee has had multiple, unjustified encounters with police officers just because of the color of his skin,” Wright said. “Those encounters make him the perfect candidate to hate and resent the police. But, that is not Daylan… The answer is not to disregard human life; the answer is to accept it for all that it is. That is Daylan.”
(Photo: KKDA screenshot)
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