Charges against Finley reduced
Published: Tuesday, September 13, 2011 at 11:40 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, September 13, 2011 at 12:24 p.m.
Florida linebacker Dee Finley is no longer facing a felony charge following his arrest Monday. On Tuesday, the State Attorney's Office reduced the charge against Finley from resisting arrest with violence to resisting without violence, a misdemeanor.
“The State Attorney reviewed the case and decided to treat it as a misdemeanor,” said Gainesville attorney Huntley Johnson, who represents Finley. “I did not see resisting with violence in the description in the police report.”
Finley, a sophomore, was arrested Monday for driving with a suspended license and resisting a University Police Department officer.
Finley appeared before a judge Tuesday morning and was released on his own recognizance.
State Attorney Bill Cervone said his staff notified court officials at first appearance that they would be reducing the resisting arrest charge from resisting with violence — a felony — to resisting without violence — a misdemeanor.
“After consulting with the UPD, we determined this event did not constitute a felony offense,” Cervone said. “We can and do make these sorts of decisions at first appearance all the time.”
According to police, Finley was pulled over after he drove around a barricade at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Finley refused to produce his license and registration, started his scooter and attempted to leave.
Officer William Sasser grabbed Finley by the wrist and Finley pushed Sasser's hand away, the police report says. When the officer threatened to use a Taser on Finley, Finley complied and put his hands behind his back for the arrest.
Finley now is facing the misdemeanor charges of resisting without violence and driving with a suspended license. This is the fourth time Finley has been charged for driving with a suspended license in Alachua County.
Finley likely will be facing discipline by UF coach Will Muschamp.
“Coach Muschamp is aware of the incident and will handle the matter,” UF spokesman Steve McClain said Monday night.
Sasser, the officer who arrested Finley, was one of five officers involved in the shooting last year of UF doctoral student Kofi Adu-Brempong. Police reported that Sasser tried to use a Taser on Adu-Brempong but failed to subdue him, before another officer shot Adu-Brempong for swinging a metal table leg at police.
Sasser received remedial training about a month before the shooting for handcuffing a jaywalking student to a stop sign on campus. He had also been in several incidents in which he used a Taser or pepper spray on fleeing suspects, before UPD changed policy to limit such actions.
Sun staff writers Nathan Crabbe and Karen Voyles contributed to this report.