Police

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. But he says police had his car towed anyway.

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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.

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37 responses to “Maryland Man Saves a Life, Says D.C. Cops Rewarded Him by Seizing His Car

  1. Must have been a nice car.

  2. “…this is an egregious abuse of power by D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department.”

    Like this is news?

  3. Welcome to the one thing DC can do quickly and efficiently.

  4. Crime = doing good unto others, in public… Government Almighty reserves unto Itself, ALL doing good unto others, and ALL PRETENSES of doing good unto others, in public!

    (Stupid-Dog, ya make me look bad!)

    1. Muriel!

    2. Imagine the horrors if this guy had instructed someone how to blow into a cheap plastic flute?

      1. DON’T GET HIM STARTED!

        1. Let me tell you about the “lung flute”…

  5. WJLA and WTTG also say they asked police for comment, but have yet to hear back as well.

    If he was lying, you would have heard from them right away.

  6. Hopefully, more facts will shed light on why police seized Davis’ car.

    Fuck you, that’s why.

    1. Asset forfeiture for the First Responders? hooker fund?

  7. 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 will respect MY AUTHORITAH, your car will get towed,'” he explained.

    1. The lesson in all this: don’t stop if you see an accident. Just keep going.

  8. Bill Barr is the new AG, so we can seize anything we want for no reason whatsoever.

    /DC Cops

    1. Pretty sure they thought that before Bill Barr became the new AG.

    2. The US AG has exactly squat to do with property seizures by the DCPD. DC has it’s own prosecutors, they don’t rely on the DOJ for prosecuting municipal violations.

      1. Is that true for DC? I know some cops like to go through the federal program because the feds are looser with the rule book then some state/local jurisdictions. Best I can find online is a Heritage article about how DC increased protections and is a model for the other states back in 2014 .

        DC CAF – Heritage Foundation

  9. >>>Hopefully, more facts will shed light on why police seized Davis’ car.

    hopefully the facts will show another argument for elimination of asset forfeiture.

  10. I have seen an accident and also a man lying in a culvert on the side of the road and just called 911 for the creepy reason that maybe no good will come to trying to physically help. Weird times cause us to act weirdly.

  11. Some cops, I think many cops, quickly get to the point that everyone they “serve” is an asshole. Many [especially criminals] though certainly not most, are. And it is a quick leap to concluding that everyone is either a criminal or is going to be a criminal.

    And if let Joe Citizen take it upon himself to people out of cars and then just drive away like nothing happened, who knows what that might lead to? I mean people might start to police themselves, and then where the hell would we be?

    1. If everyone you meet is an asshole, just maybe it’s not them.

  12. The lesson is clear. You see a wreck on the side of the road? Fuck’em.

  13. He was a first responder. You can’t make the *official* first responders look like second responders.

    I’m just busting but…..

  14. “That being said, it’s also important to hear the other side of the story, if there is one.”

    As if we would have any reason to believe anything the DCPD had to say on this or any other issue.

  15. “He said: ‘You’re being detained because you were a witness to…an accident where someone died,'”

    My understanding was that you didn’t have to talk to the police if you didn’t want to. Guess the DC cops haven’t heard that yet. But then the 5th amendment is only 200 years ago so it’s probably new to them.

    1. 5th amendment works only if you really are a criminal.

    2. 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

      So when Davis was pulled over, no one had yet died.

      1. Exactly. What the fuck? Why wasn’t that addressed in this article? They wrote and read the words. I would hope they would have realized the issue there. All I did was read the words.

    3. but that was so soon after, the driver did not die until he was at hospital, later on, from the story. So here we have the DIRTY copper manufacturing his own version of “truth’.

      Man should take action against the DC pigs that think they’re more equal than other pigs. Go after that specific copper’s bond and personal insurance. Tap THEM and he’s out of work for a while,

      The DC coppers are amongst the worst on the planet. right up there, er, squeeze me, DOWN there with Chitcago, NBalto, Los Angeles…. oh, and Portland.

  16. No good deed goes unpunished.

  17. Is driving while black still probable cause in DC?

  18. If a motorist does not have a valid driver’s license — or even if he or she has a valid license but the DMV has screwed up — the motorist often is arrested and certainly told by the officer on the scene that the license is bouncing. Of course, if the tag is bad (and especially if expired), that can lead to towing the vehicle.

    Bottom line: D.C. Metro’s explanation here is far from adequate. The motorist also should be aware that the Supreme Court long ago declared even stopping a motorist sans any reason to do so a violation of the Fourth Amendment, see Delaware v. Prouse, 440 U.S. 648 (1979), which could make both the officer and the department civilly liable under 42 U.S.C. sec. 1983.

    Do I smell a cover-up?

  19. See something, say nothing.

  20. This is why I don’t stop at car accidents anymore.

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