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: Dec 20, 2010
Posted on: September 15, 2011 3:12 pm

Florida LB Dee Finley arrested

I mentioned "Death Penalty" because since these allegations were made and this happened to a UM player, the press and fans would have been all over it stating UM definitely deserves the "Death Penalty" or UM is totally out of control! Before this scandal the last player that got in trouble with the law was 3 years ago with Robert Marve the press and fans were screaming out "THUG U!" While UF players who break the law get a slap on the wrist from the press. I mean you guys have had drug abusers, stalkers, alcoholics and even domestic abusers all in the past 5 years. Who is the real "THUG U" now?



Since: Sep 19, 2006
Posted on: September 15, 2011 11:01 am

Florida LB Dee Finley arrested

Wait a minute, miami still has a team?

Since: Jun 30, 2009
Posted on: September 14, 2011 9:09 pm

Florida LB Dee Finley arrested

The defense will be fine, as Muschamp will work with what he's got

This kind of statement is always interesting to me, and came from the LSU guys recently also.  It seems to the SEC fans, it does not matter what the players did or how bad it was or was not like the felons at LSU.  All that matters is will the team be ok without them. To me that says all that matters is winning.  Just like when Urban had all of those arrest, the team was winning so the fans did not care. 

Since: Apr 6, 2009
Posted on: September 14, 2011 3:48 pm

Florida LB Dee Finley arrested

Finley will probably be suspended for a game or two, being that they've already reduced the charge. The defense will be fine, as Muschamp will work with what he's got. Charlie Weis has been really effective, certainly using the .

Since: Jun 30, 2009
Posted on: September 14, 2011 12:59 pm

Florida LB Dee Finley arrested

i'm not saying the kid wasn't stupid for trying to drive away, but Gainesville police are somewhat notorious for coming on too strong and being extrememly rigid when it comes to even the most trivial of acts. This case being another example.

I guess my question to this is was the police officer out of line?  Did he abuse his power with this or was he just strictly enforcing the law? 

Another thought, did the police in Gainsville become so rigid because of all the problems they had to deal with or are they going overboard and trying to "fix" something that does not exist?

Since: Jan 9, 2007
Posted on: September 14, 2011 10:31 am

Florida LB Dee Finley arrested

i'm not saying the kid wasn't stupid for trying to drive away, but Gainesville police are somewhat notorious for coming on too strong and being extrememly rigid when it comes to even the most trivial of acts. This case being another example.

if you went to UF then you possibly know what i mean. if you didn't then assume away.

Since: Nov 28, 2006
Posted on: September 14, 2011 10:08 am

Florida LB Dee Finley arrested

Are you kidding me Papaya Canes?  People would cry "death penalty" for driving with a suspended license?  Please tell me one instance that someone from Univeristy of Miami stopped for a traffic violation drew the national spotlight and the talk was about how the University should get the "death penalty."

Look, do NOT lump University of Florida together somehow with Miami's absurd antics over the past 8 years.  You call the University of Florida thug U for having felonies that were later reduced to misdemeanors (as per the norm for any person with each given set of facts would have their sentence reduced). All of these are civil matters that should be dealt with appropriately by the school authorities and the state which they occured

However, Miami is being threatened with Death Penalty for what seems to be countless allegations of NCAA violations.  This is key.  These are not mere civil or even criminal violations.  They are specific to the rules and regulations of the NCAA.  While the Finley case is a travesty, it is not done in collusion with the University of Florida, and it does not implicate the University of Florida for him to violate this traffic law as well as this criminal law.  If Miami is in fact found to be in violation of even a portion of the alleged NCAA violations, then yes, the death penalty is a very real reality for Miami.

Point is, do not confuse two distinct issues.  It is still upsetting, rightfully so, that this Florida player acted so foolishly, and he does deserve to be reprimanded to the extent that the law permits.  At the moment though, this is a personal issue of the player and an isolated incident at University of Florida.  The Miami allegations address a greater issue implicating the School as whole if they are true.  It must be noted though, these are only allegations against Miami, and no one should assume guilt.

Since: Jun 24, 2010
Posted on: September 14, 2011 9:01 am

Florida LB Dee Finley arrested

Does anyone know how much the Univeristy of Florida pays Huntley Johnson for his retainer fee? Forget having a statue of Tebow in front of the stadium, Huntley Johnson should be up there. He's had more felonies knocked down to misdemeanors than any lawyer in the state of Florida. The guy is good and that's a great thing for the University of Florida football and basketball programs.

Since: Jun 30, 2009
Posted on: September 14, 2011 8:45 am

Florida LB Dee Finley arrested

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.

I thought is something is given to you it is your "personal property"?  I really did not think it mattered where it came from but the fact that it was given to you and therefore yours. Myabe I am wrong on that.  I know the guy sold narcotics but where was it proven that the players received narcotics for their "personal property"? 

I think you are splitting hairs, and like I said before I would rather have the kids on the Buckeyes get tats and sell their "personal property" than have the actual criminals that other schools have. 

Since: Feb 16, 2011
Posted on: September 14, 2011 7:55 am

Florida LB Dee Finley arrested

(from "ufgatorfan84"):  hey meathead if you would read again it was 1:50 PM means afternoon and was probably going to class or practice.

1)  MOST Gators don't have any class to start with.  2)  Under the old regime, "the Meyer Era", Gator players couldn't resist getting arrested . . . that's how 30-something of them ended up in jail.  3)  Any word as to whether the phrase "Don't tase me, bro!" was uttered during this incident? 

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