A man who says he was wrongfully arrested in 2016 rescued a police officer from a burning police cruiser on Sunday, according to news reports.
Daylan McLee was in an apartment in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, when he heard a loud crash, the Associated Press reported.
McLee ran outside to find a burning police cruiser and removed officer Jay Hanley from the vehicle.
“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 on Monday, according to the Associated Press.
According to a reporter, McLee added: “I know this man is my brother through Christ and I couldn’t leave him behind.”
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
Several of Hanley’s relatives took to social media to thank McLee on Tuesday. Hanley’s sister even called McLee to thank him, the AP reported.
“Daylan actually said, ‘I’m not going to let him die,’” Uniontown Police Lt. Thomas Kolencik told Pittsburgh-based WTAE. “There’s just no words to describe, you know.”
McLee, who is black, spent a year in jail after a March 2016 incident before he was acquitted of his charges.
McLee had been accused of being involved in a fight outside a bar, but he was cleared of wrongdoing after video reviewed by a jury showed he had disarmed a man and thrown the gun away from the fight, according to the AP.
McLee has also been charged with fleeing and resisting arrest in an incident that occurred earlier this year. McLee said he started running from a gathering after plainclothes officers approached with guns drawn, the AP reported.
However, McLee said he stopped running once he realized those chasing him were law enforcement officers. He plans to fight the charges, the AP reported.
“Those encounters make him the perfect candidate to hate and resent the police,” McLee’s attorney Alec Wright said, according to the Associated Press.
“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.”
“There is value in every human life. We are all children of God and I can’t imagine just watching anyone burn,” McLee said, the Associated Press reported.
“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.’”