Uniontown man sues 4 state cops, alleges malicious prosecution
A Uniontown man said he disarmed a would-be gunman at an American Legion in 2016, but responding state troopers shot at him and filed false felony charges to justify the shooting, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday.
The federal lawsuit, filed on behalf of Daylan McLee by attorneys Alec Wright and Timothy O’Brien of O’Brien Law, names Sgt. Dale Brown, Troopers Adam Sikorski and James Pierce, and Cpl. Kip Yarosh. A state police spokesperson could not immediately be reached for comment.
McLee, now 29, was at the American Legion near Uniontown about 2 a.m. March 20, 2016 when a violent fight broke out and someone pulled a gun, according to the lawsuit. McLee was not drunk and not involved in the fight but stepped in and took the gun from the aggressor and tossed it out of reach, his lawyers said.
Sikorski and his partner, who is not named in the suit, arrived on scene moments later, just as someone else fired a gun into the air outside the American Legion, according to the lawsuit. Sikorski allegedly ran toward a group of fleeing patrons at the back of the parking lot while taking up a firing stance.
In the back of the parking lot, he fired twice at McLee, according to the lawsuit. McLee was unarmed and not struck by the gunfire, and the lawsuit claims that he was unaware that Sikorski had shot to kill in his direction.
In a criminal complaint filed by Brown, police said that Sikorski saw McLee carrying a handgun and, upon ordering him to drop the weapon, he alleged he saw McLee “turn and raise the weapon to him,” prompting him to shoot to kill.
Wright said Sikorski also claimed McLee pointed a gun at him from a close distance, just as he arrived on scene, but he could not fire at McLee because there were too many people in the area.
Both statements, Wright said, are false.
McLee left the parking lot as a passenger in an SUV but was later detained, according to the lawsuit.
Wright said security footage from the parking lot corroborates McLee’s version of events, but troopers falsified the criminal complaint and charged him with aggravated assault, firearms violations, simple assault, reckless endangerment and disorderly conduct.
“Instead of acting to comment Mr. McLee for his conduct at the American Legion – and the fact that his conduct likely saved lives that night – the (state police) acted to conceal and protect Sikorski’s conduct,” write said.
A jury found McLee not guilty of all charges in March 2017.
“He spent a year in jail away from his children, family and friends,” Wright said. “He lost his job. His life was forever changed as he sat in jail, knowingly innocent of those accusations and knowing that they very people charged to protect him were trying to bury him.”
Through his attorneys, McLee said he wants the state police held accountable.
The lawsuits demands a jury trial to determine punitive damages, as well as compensatory damages for lost wages and future lost wages, legal fees and the value of each day of confinement.
Megan Guza is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Megan at 412-380-8519, email@example.com or via Twitter @meganguzaTrib.