Uniontown, Pennsylvania – Who could blame Daylan McLee for hating the police? McLee was falsely accused of pointing a gun at a police officer and spent a year in jail before a jury finally acquitted him – not to mention the countless traffic stops.
What happens? CBS News asked.
Oh, a typical run-in is you’re just pulling out from your house and you get pulled, no traffic violations, McLee added.
How does that make you feel about police, in general?
Definitely a lot of animosity, as in, if I see them, I want to go the other way, McLee said.
And that was the bitterness he brought to this street corner in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, last month. McLee said he rushed here after hearing a huge crash: There was just a lot of screaming, a lot of chaos. Ah man, I get chills when I think of it.
It was a bad traffic accident involving a police car. An officer trapped inside. A gas tank leaking. Flames spreading toward the cabin. Another officer who responded to the crash tried to rescue his colleague but couldn’t get the door open, and that’s when a lone bystander, McLee, stepped toward the burning wreckage.
I don’t know how I got that door open, and I grabbed him out.
All of a sudden the door just gets ripped open, said Jay Hanley, the officer McLee rescued.
It’s amazing when there’s true love in people and they can get you out of something like that – no matter who you are or where you come from. There should be more people like that, Hanley said.
And certainly, if there were more people like that, there’d be more moments like this: McLee and Hanley greeting.
Last week, McLee came over to check on Hanley and meet his very thankful wife. That’s the other thing they’re grateful for. Despite all his run-ins with the law, McLee still believes there are a lot of good cops worth keeping.
We’re waiting for you to get back out there, McLee said. I appreciate it, man, thank you, Hanley said.
In times of rage, we often paint groups with a broad brush. But McLee said at some point you have to go back and fill in lines between good and bad because, in that subtlety, lies our humanity.
I want people to start to look at everybody as Americans and not, He’s White, he’s Black, he’s Asian. We’re people – and when we start realizing that, things should get better.