DETROIT (WXYZ) — He works to go viral on social media, but not like this.
When Detroit Police held a press conference and posted video on their Facebook page saying they arrested a street racing YouTuber and others and planned to keep his Lamborghinis, they got hundreds of thousands of views.
“Some of these folks make a living out of going around to major cities and doing drag racing in the streets,” said Chief James White, of the Detroit Police Department.
“All these people have been arrested and are looking at prosecution,” said the chief.
He said he wanted to hold the press conference to send a message to drag racers that they risk losing their vehicles.
“These vehicles will be converted. We’re keeping them. We are going to do everything in our power to keep them,” said Chief White.
But now, Sean Tien of the YouTube channel Dreamcars Daily is saying not so fast.
“It is slander to put my car, front and center, in press conferences and say that all parties have been arrested and are being prosecuted. I have never been arrested. I have never been ticketed. I am not under prosecution for anything,” said Tien.
Tien is the owner of two Lamborghinis that the chief points to as he talks in the video.
Police shared one of the videos he posted as evidence during their press conference. You can see Tien and another man discuss having bail money in case they are arrested street racing in Detroit. You then see cars racing down a street at night.
Tien said the videos are made for entertainment purposes and not necessarily factual.
Police say they saw the video on social media in April.
Tien says police boxed him in as he drove the speed limit on May 20. He recorded what happened next, showing he was given notice of seizure and intent to forfeit paperwork and let go.
“I think a government that goes unchecked is one of the biggest concerns in society,” said Ramy Hijazi, Tien’s Defense Attorney.
Sean’s Attorney Ramy Hijazi says it is illegal for police to lie about his client. He says as the press conference was happening, the prosecutor’s office was offering a settlement. Tien has to pay $4300 plus storage and fees to get his cars back as soon as Monday.
“Using my car as props in their political stunts, I take issue with,” said Tien.
“Sean wants people held accountable,” said Hijazi.
Holding police accountable, WXYZ called police, who admitted Sean was never arrested. What Chief James White said at the press conference was not true. White has also not been ticketed or charged.
“There has been no warrant request or criminal ticket presented to Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office in this case,” said Maria Miller, Wayne County Assistant Prosecutor, in a statement.
Miller says drag racing can be deadly and is considered a nuisance under local ordinances. A vehicle can be seized for nuisance abatement even if there is no criminal ticket or charges issued.
The Wayne County Forfeiture Unit is reviewing the case and declined to comment on any negotiations.
The Detroit Police provided a statement to WXYZ saying:
The Detroit Police Department will pursue charges against Sean Tien and others involved in this reckless behavior.
Chief White has laid out an aggressive 5-Point Summer Control Plan that includes a crackdown on illegal drag racing and drifting in our communities.
Chief White has made it clear this is a quality of life issue and must be stopped.
Mr. Tien and his friends from Kalamazoo are not welcome here if they want to break our laws. In addition, our dept. will attempt to seize these luxury sport vehicles permanently.
“The police have the ability to seize vehicles, but they have no authority to keep a car. The matter must either go to court as a civil forfeiture case or can be settled by our office out of court,” said Miller.