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: Sep 19, 2006
Posted on: September 13, 2011 4:48 pm

Florida LB Dee Finley arrested

That's 1:50 in the afternoon, (p.m.). He was headed to class, and the cop wanted to be an ass. Normally I side with the law, but this guy was just trying to make a name for himself, good luck at your next job, flipping burgers.

Since: Jun 16, 2007
Posted on: September 13, 2011 4:41 pm

Florida LB Dee Finley arrested

You people are so funny...another Gator gets arrested and you are defending it.  Im shocked you didnt add how awful the Canes are as part of this article for your daily dose of piling on.  I guess CBS has a tight leash on you boys, you know, with your relationship with the $EC.....What a shame

Since: Mar 14, 2010
Posted on: September 13, 2011 4:31 pm

Florida LB Dee Finley arrested

His fat chick musta been broke down.

Since: Sep 10, 2006
Posted on: September 13, 2011 4:28 pm

Florida LB Dee Finley arrested

First of all, he should have been pepper sprayed for riding a scooter... I wasn't even aware that they still made those... Anyway, 1:50 in the morning and driving around barricades...? Sounds to me like he got caught before he was going to do his real intent...

I'm pretty certain that 99.99999999999999% of the people that get tased and pepper sprayed deserve it... You do what a Police Officer tells you to do, regardless... 

Muschamp needs to step up and show these clowns that there will be no excuses for nonsense... And for those that a re wondering what an excuse is, it's a lame explanation as to why you didn't do exactly what you were supposed to do...

Since: Mar 6, 2010
Posted on: September 13, 2011 3:53 pm

Florida LB Dee Finley arrested

This will most definitely warrant that SEC-style "suspension" for the opening kick-off. Meanwhile, in other news from the parallel universe known as the NCAA, the NCAA is considering a 50-year bowl ban on Ohio State for selling gold trinkets, as clearly that is a greater wrong than assaulting a police officer.

Since: Jun 30, 2009
Posted on: September 13, 2011 3:37 pm

Florida LB Dee Finley arrested

Like I said many times, the Buckeye kids were wrong but in the big scheme of things I will take the tats and selling rings over the true criminals other schools have. 

Since: Nov 30, 2010
Posted on: September 13, 2011 3:33 pm

Florida LB Dee Finley arrested

He was charged correctly in the end. He was wrong from the beginning. Keep that in mind. He'll pay a ticket and be in uniform by this Sat. Let's face it, they do get special treatment. Kids should remember it is the team and the school that are hurt most by their action.

Since: Mar 18, 2008
Posted on: September 13, 2011 3:10 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.

Since: Jun 29, 2011
Posted on: September 13, 2011 2:56 pm

Florida LB Dee Finley arrested

"Bad Boys, Bad Boys, whatcha gonna do, whatcha gonna do when they come for you ..."
 There is no doubt that some law enforcement officers are over zealous in handling certain confrontations or addressing individuals suspected of breaking the law. The simple fact remains that in 2010 160 police officers were killed in the line of duty - Up 37% over previous years. Unless you are guilty or have something to hide you should always abide by the officer's directions understanding that he/she has a job to do and their life is on the line. If the officer goes beyond what is legally right you can sort that all out at a later time.  Not that I condone extreme physical reaction by any officer I can understand their demeanor in approaching a suspect or possible law breaker. It appears many star athletes (or athletes in genreral) feel they are above the law at times and deserve preferential treatment. This would not be a story if the young man would have been doing the right thing to begin with.

Strangely different than trading Tat's for autographs wouldn't you say? Given the severity of the offense maybe Roger will only suspend him a game when entering the NFL.

Since: Nov 27, 2007
Posted on: September 13, 2011 2:38 pm

Florida LB Dee Finley arrested

I would say typical Gainesville PD, but it was a UPD officer (and they are worse than GPD).  Granted Finley is a dumbass for driving w/a suspended liscence etc., but as the article points out, the whole thing could've been difused if the cop would've just said don't drive around the barricade (that and if Finley would've paid his tickets.)  Cops in Gainesville just love to flex.

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