Blog Entry

Florida LB Dee Finley arrested

Posted on: September 13, 2011 11:17 am
Edited on: September 13, 2011 6:53 pm

Posted by Adam Jacobi

On its face, the news out of Gainesville Monday evening that Florida linebacker Dee Finley had been arrested on multiple charges looked bad -- especially since those charges (initially--see update below--ed.) included resisting an officer with violence (a third-degree felony). Resisting an officer with violence conjures many mental images, and they're universally ugly. That's the type of behavior that not only gets one kicked off the football team, but out of school... and into prison. Felony violence against a police officer! Can you imagine!

Except we don't have to imagine, because the Orlando Sentinel has the police report from Finley's arrest, and let's just say the police report -- i.e., even the cop's side of the story -- doesn't seem to back up the charges:

Finley was pulled over at 1:50 p.m. by Officer William Sasser after driving around a barricade at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. According to the arrest report, Finley initially refused to give his license and registration and told Sasser he was late.

As Finley tried to leave, Sasser told him he was under arrest and grabbed Finley's wrist. Finley pulled his wrist away and "stood up and squared to me while straddling the scooter," Sasser wrote in the report.

After Sasser removed his Taser, Finley complied.

Now, that's extremely inadvisable behavior from Finley from the moment he got onto the scooter; driving with a suspended license is going to turn even the most mundane of traffic stops into a legal situation, no matter who you are. Trying to drive said scooter away from a police stop without proffering a license and registration is also amazingly dumb. It's such a bad idea that Florida coach Will Muschamp (and really, pretty much every D-I coach) should schedule a meeting with his players where all he says is "DO WHAT THE COP TELLS YOU TO DO" over and over for an hour straight. 

That said, once the police officer escalated the situation to an arrest (as he should have) and grabbed Finley's wrist, Finley's reaction was once again inadvisable but hardly an act of violence. If anything, the violence here is perpetrated by the policeman, who grabs Finley's wrist then threatens the use of a Taser. It's all legal, of course, and we're not exactly about to advocate charges brought against a policeman doing his job, but there's such a chasmic disconnect between the police report and the charges filed that the word "violence" ceases to have any real meaning here, and it would be naive to assume otherwise. That'd be a dangerous precedent to set.

UPDATE: This is likely why Finley's charges have already been reduced from the felony "resisting arrest with violence" to the misdemeanor-level "resisting arrest without violence." A Florida spokesman said Muschamp "is aware of the incident and will handle the matter." For more on Finley's situation and the Gators' options for replacing him in the second-string, have a look at our Florida RapidReports.

At any rate, there's a roughly 0.0001% no chance this felony charge makes it anywhere near conviction, so it would just be prejudicial to call Florida a bunch of felons and felon-coddlers. Sure would be nice if the police had set a good example for Finley after the arrest and told him that they technically could have filed a felony charge, but weren't going to do that since he complied before the situation escalated to the use of a Taser. Wouldn't that have sent a message to Finley without smearing him as a felon in the public sphere, the way these types of allegations so often do before a judge even gets a chance to look at them? Or is it just more enjoyable to just throw as many charges at a person as possible and let the lawyers decide which should stick?

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Since: Mar 20, 2007
Posted on: September 13, 2011 10:55 pm

Florida LB Dee Finley arrested

Let's not be too judgmental of this guy.  All he did was show complete disregard for the law by driving under a suspension, then try to ignore a police officer who asked him to see his license.  It's not like he traded his personal property for tattoos or anything.  Let's get our priorities straight people.
While I essentially agree with you, for accuracy sake let's point out that that this "personal property" traded for tattoos was provided free of charge by the university, so actually not "personal property" at all.  We should also point out that the university property was also traded for narcotics.  Of course we should probably also remind everyone that such "deals" occured with an incredibly high frequency.  If we have come this far it would be remiss of me to neglect to mention that not only did the coach know about these reoccuring violations, but also did nothing to stop them and in fact lied about the situation on numerous occasions.

So no, not the same as just one kid driving under a suspended license.  Much, much worse as the Ohio State actions were institiutionalized, lied about, and covered up.  The Florida kid is wrong, but I'm not buying your two-wrongs-make-a-right argument one bit.

Since: Oct 26, 2009
Posted on: September 13, 2011 7:55 pm

Florida LB Dee Finley arrested

All this research by CBS to get the truth out and they omitted one important thing:  this is the 4th time Finley has been charged for driving with a suspended license.  That seems like a fact worthy of focus to me.

Since: Dec 1, 2008
Posted on: September 13, 2011 7:50 pm

Florida LB Dee Finley arrested

Punish him. Make him transfer to Georgia

Since: Dec 20, 2010
Posted on: September 13, 2011 7:46 pm

Florida LB Dee Finley arrested

Funny...if this happened to UM everybody and thier mothers would have been screaming, "Here we go again....THUG U" or "Death Penalty!" While UFelonies gets a slap on the wrist by the sportswriters and NCAA. If NCAA thought Boise St. had "Lack of control" what do you call what going in at UF. In the last 5 years UF has been the real THUG U!!

Since: Jun 30, 2009
Posted on: September 13, 2011 7:14 pm

Florida LB Dee Finley arrested

It is not about the time or the scooter, it is about the guy not following the directions of the officer.  And then he resisted, that is what matters.  The kid was an idiot and should receive an appropriate punishment for what he did. 

Since: Feb 19, 2008
Posted on: September 13, 2011 6:15 pm

Florida LB Dee Finley arrested

It was 1:50 PM. And plenty of us UF students, especially the student-athletes, drive scooters. It's an easy way to get around the huge campus.

Since: Oct 26, 2009
Posted on: September 13, 2011 5:54 pm

Florida LB Dee Finley arrested

Why is it that every CBS article on Florida arrests are written in defense of the player?  Double standard, as usual.  If this were a Big 10 school, they would have done no research and insisted that a violation is a violation, regardless of how minor it is.  (In fact, they've written many articles like that against non-SEC teams).  Try reporting the news equally instead of evaluating it based on whether its one of their favored teams.

Since: Jan 21, 2010
Posted on: September 13, 2011 5:53 pm

Florida LB Dee Finley arrested

This will most definitely warrant that SEC-style "suspension" for the opening kick-off.
Kinda like that "SEC-style suspension" Muschamp gave Janoris Jenkins right? I think Muschamp has made it pretty clear by kicking off a potential NFL first rounder that he doesn't put up with this crap.  Do a little research on the current UF coach before you write things.

Since: Jan 10, 2007
Posted on: September 13, 2011 5:01 pm

Florida LB Dee Finley arrested

hey meathead if you would read again it was 1:50 PM means afternoon and was probably going to class or practice.


Since: Dec 6, 2007
Posted on: September 13, 2011 5:01 pm

Florida LB Dee Finley arrested


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