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 2:16 pm

Florida LB Dee Finley arrested

If there hadn't been almost 40 arrests in the last 5 years under Urban Meyer, the cops likely wouldn't be so quick to put the hand on the Taser...just sayin. 

I think Stephen Garcia has that record beat all by himself.  A Soth Carolina fan commenting on another school's arrest record is hysterical.  It would be like OJ speaking out against murder.

Since: Nov 21, 2006
Posted on: September 13, 2011 12:41 pm

Florida LB Dee Finley arrested

If there hadn't been almost 40 arrests in the last 5 years under Urban Meyer, the cops likely wouldn't be so quick to put the hand on the Taser...just sayin.  

Since: Mar 28, 2007
Posted on: September 13, 2011 12:41 pm

Florida LB Dee Finley arrested

OK, Jacobi ... so the Gators that aren't felons are misdemeanants & the UofF admin has a tacit policy of misdemeanant-coddling.  Is that a better spin for you?

Early word is that Finley will be suspended for the national anthem, halftime & the post-game handshake in this Saturday's SEC opener against Tennessee.  Only sitting wayward players for cupcake non-conference games is standard operating procedure in Gatorville. 

That goes hand-in-hand with the SEC's most lenient drug testing policy.  Smoke it if ya got it, boys!

Since: Aug 24, 2006
Posted on: September 13, 2011 12:40 pm

Florida LB Dee Finley arrested

So the cop esclated the violence by trying to restrain someone who directly and clearly violated the officer's orders?  Really?

Get a clue.  the cop had every right to do what he did, and when this jackwagon "squared" to him he deserved to get tazed.

UFelons back at it.  Gotta love it.

Since: Nov 16, 2007
Posted on: September 13, 2011 12:38 pm

Florida LB Dee Finley arrested

How is he taking up for Finley? He said repeatedly that his decisions were stupid and he should have reacted differently. All he was saying is that the charge of violence invokes visions of fists thrown, scuffle, etc- which is exactly what it means. I am a non-violent person who was approached by a cop in Gville when I was a 19 year old 5'2" female student and they were rather forceful with me (for a traffic violation)- I instincitvely turned quickly to face the officer and he became very forceful and grabbed me. Again, my first instinct was to pull my arm away from him. He was really just a jerk. A couple of other officers came over and intervened and they were like, "why are you man handling her?". The point is- cops are quick to escalate things sometimes maybe out of ego maybe out of fear. But athletes in Gville are not treated specially. Violence is not jerking ones arm away.

Since: Nov 16, 2007
Posted on: September 13, 2011 12:33 pm

Florida LB Dee Finley arrested

You are so off base. The cops in Gville are notoriously hard on students & athletes. What happens after lawyers get involved is a different story. I don't think it's fair to attack the journalist just because you obviously don't like the Gators. Not very classy.

Since: Mar 30, 2009
Posted on: September 13, 2011 12:29 pm

Florida LB Dee Finley arrested

I really doubt you were "in the program". That being said, of course that's why the charges were reduced.

Since: Sep 11, 2011
Posted on: September 13, 2011 12:20 pm

Florida LB Dee Finley arrested

It went to a misdemeanor because he's in THE PROGRAM!  That's just the way it goes.......face it!


ex Div. I player that was in THE PROGRAM!

Since: Sep 13, 2011
Posted on: September 13, 2011 12:10 pm

Florida LB Dee Finley arrested

       Better yet-- why even pull Finley over?? Why not just let everyone do what they want?  Typical Fla. Football player and typical liberal journalist.. Enough said!

Since: Nov 29, 2007
Posted on: September 13, 2011 11:58 am

Florida LB Dee Finley arrested

So since he was threatened, he decided to obey the law. But until that point he thought he would do whatever he wanted??  Sounds like a poorly written article by a Florida fan trying to take up for Finley.  Cry me a river and sail across it with you sisters sailboat

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