A Pennsylvania man is being hailed a hero after saving a cop from a burning car over the weekend but the backstory which led him to his actions is profound.
Daylan McLee rushed from him home in Union Town Sunday after he heard a loud explosion and saw a cop stuck in a burning car after it crashed near his apartment.
The 31-year-old Black man sprung into action and pulled the white cop from the car, telling reporters Monday, “I don’t know what came across me, but I ripped the door open and just pulled him to safety across the street.”
Officer Jay Hanley is undergoing surgery in his leg following the crash and his family thanked McLee for what he had done.
In 2018, McLee filed a lawsuit against four Pennsylvania State Police troopers for wrongful arrest after he spent a year in jail related to a March 2016 fight outside a bar. A jury acquitted him on the charges after reviewing the video.
“We need to work on our humanity,” McLee, a father of three, told reporters. “That’s the main problem of this world. 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.”
As tensions mount across the country between Black Americans and police in the wake of the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, McLee’s actions are hailed as an olive branch between the two groups.
“There is value in every human life. We are all children of God and I can’t imagine just watching anyone burn,” McLee told reporters. “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.’”
Earlier this month, McLee was recognized with a police lifesaving award at a Uniontown City Council Meeting, the Herald-Standard reported. He was honored along with Capt. David Rutter and K-9 Officer Matt Painter, who assisted in the rescue.
McLee was commended for his actions at the meeting, and the board voted to declare June 21 as “Daylan McLee Day.”