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United States News
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Title: Maryland Man Saves a Life, Says D.C. Cops Rewarded Him by Seizing His Car Benjamin Davis III wasn't issued a ticket or citation.
Source: Reason
URL Source: https://reason.com/blog/2018/12/11/ ... ays-dc-cops-r?utm_medium=email
Published: Dec 11, 2018
Author: Joe Setyon
Post Date: 2018-12-12 05:38:04 by Deckard
Keywords: None
Views: 148
Comments: 8

Benjamin Davis III wasn't issued a ticket or citation. But he says police had his car towed anyway.

DPPA/Sipa USA/Newscom

When a Maryland man driving in Washington, D.C., on Sunday saw the car in front of him go off the road, he leapt to action and says he helped save a life. But Benjamin Davis III claims D.C. police rewarded him by seizing his car.

"I don't know those gentlemen," Davis told WTTG. I just saw [an] accident happen, I just wanted to help someone and that's what I thought I did. And I was treated like a suspect."

After seeing the crash, Davis says he pulled over and "rushed down" to help. "Out of the passenger window, there was an individual hanging out halfway, and his friend was like crushed down on top of his body—the hood of the car was crushed down," he told WTTG. Davis says he pulled the one man out of the car, but couldn't do anything to save the other victim.

According to The Washington Post, the driver, identified as 21-year-old Kyree Lloyd Payne, later died at the hospital. The passenger who Davis saved is still in the hospital, Davis told WJLA. Police say the accident occurred because the driver was speeding and lost control of the vehicle, the Post reports.

Not long after Davis pulled over, emergency services arrived on the scene. Davis relayed to them what he had seen, and says he was told he could go.

But he didn't get far. Davis was pulled over about a block away from the scene by a D.C. cop who apparently gave him a hard time. "He said: 'You're being detained because you were a witness to...an accident where someone died,'" Davis told WJLA.

Davis told WTTG that police accused him of not cooperating, even though he had already given a witness account. "l was like: 'What is going on here? What is this really about?' They said: 'You don't want to cooperate, your car will get towed,'" he explained.

Davis claims he has a valid driver's license and registration, as well as active insurance coverage. "I was not written a citation or ticket or anything for any infraction, so there is no probable cause to even pull my vehicle over,'" he told WTTG. Still, his car was towed, and as of yesterday, he had no idea where it was.

If Davis' account of what happened to him is true, then this is an egregious abuse of power by D.C.'s Metropolitan Police Department. To take away a man's car for no reason other than the fact that he witnessed a crash is terrible. If Davis was involved in the crash itself, then that's a different story. But it sounds as though this was simply a tragic accident caused by speeding.

That being said, it's also important to hear the other side of the story, if there is one. Reason reached out to D.C. police for comment prior to publication of this article, but did not hear back until hours later. A police spokesperson eventually explained that Davis' car was towed because he did not have a valid driver's license. According to the spokesperson, the car was still impounded as of Tuesday afternoon.

This post has been updated with comment from a D.C. Metropolitan Police Department spokesperson. (1 image)

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#1. To: Deckard (#0)

Davis claims he has a valid driver's license and registration

Well, he lied. So when he also claimed that he was told he could go, that's a lie, too. He wanted to get out of there before the cops found out that he had no driver's license.

misterwhite  posted on  2018-12-12   9:39:34 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#2. To: misterwhite (#1) (Edited)

Well, he lied. So when he also claimed that he was told he could go, that's a lie, too. He wanted to get out of there before the cops found out that he had no driver's license.

I've checked all the links and don't see that stated anywhere.

But it probably wouldn't matter even if he was unlicensed. Probably. Police still need probable cause in the way of an observed infraction to require one produce a license. Otherwise the presumption is that they have one. As on observer to the crash, perhaps they can require his information and if so, he can give it verbally.

If the lesson here is that anyone who observes a crash and would face prosecution for an unrelated matter should they stop and render assistance, then it's a very, very bad lesson and gives them an incentive to just not do so.

People should NOT be intimidated from helping because they have some administrative matter that might dog them, including a lack of license.

Perhaps there's more to the story, but if it's as plain as the police seizing his car for "not cooperating" then it sounds like he's going to get a lot more than his car back. Unless "Not Cooperating" is a statutory offense.

Pinguinite  posted on  2018-12-12   10:21:12 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#3. To: Pinguinite (#2)

Police still need probable cause in the way of an observed infraction to require one produce a license.

They had one. The cop told him, "You're being detained because you were a witness to … an accident where someone died."

misterwhite  posted on  2018-12-12   10:30:57 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#4. To: Pinguinite (#2)

People should NOT be intimidated from helping because they have some administrative matter that might dog them, including a lack of license.

People have the opportunity to plead for lenience in front of a judge. I doubt any judge would pursue this legally given the circumstance.

misterwhite  posted on  2018-12-12   10:37:23 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#5. To: Pinguinite (#2)

"but if it's as plain as the police seizing his car for "not cooperating"

The police didn't "seize" his car. They towed it to an impound yard because he had no driver's license.

misterwhite  posted on  2018-12-12   10:40:27 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#6. To: misterwhite (#3)

They had one. The cop told him, "You're being detained because you were a witness to … an accident where someone died."

There is no lawful requirement for one to be a licensed driver to be a witness to a fatal accident.

Pinguinite  posted on  2018-12-12   11:35:58 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#7. To: misterwhite (#4)

People have the opportunity to plead for lenience in front of a judge. I doubt any judge would pursue this legally given the circumstance.

You don't get it.

If one may be prosecuted as an indirect result of rendering aid, then they will be dissuaded from rendering aid, choosing instead to just drive off, which could mean someone innocent dies.

For the state to create that ill-motive for anyone such that they would choose to leave a scene of an accident instead of rendering emergency aid does a DISSERVICE to the general public, which is contrary to the stated purpose of the state, which is to provide the best environment to live.

People who are in a position to render aid should never be pressured to leave the scene of an emergency. I don't care if they are an escaped convict. If police don't have reason to suspect someone who has rendered aid is in any way in violation of the law for any past event, they should not pressure that person to say or do anything that might bring that to light.

It's best for the general public that way.

Pinguinite  posted on  2018-12-12   11:42:38 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#8. To: misterwhite (#5)

The police didn't "seize" his car. They towed it to an impound yard because he had no driver's license.

It's comments like these that really make you look stupid.

Pinguinite  posted on  2018-12-12   11:43:27 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


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