- Posted August 24, 2013 by
Panama City, Florida
Support for arrested Sheriff Finch growing
- Jareen, CNN iReport producer
Law enforcement officials and citizens are standing by Finch because they say FDLE’s narrative of events does not match the evidence. Under Florida law, a Sheriff is authorized and in some instances required to intervene in an arrest if he believes it is without merit. FDLE also faces a physical evidence issue if the surveillance videos from inside the jail and the recorded conversation between Sheriff Finch and a dispatcher were recorded over, as reported when Finch’s attorney requested them.
As the government’s position unravels, activist groups from all over the political spectrum have been rushing to aid Sheriff Finch. Civil liberties advocates are stating that Floyd’s stop and arrest were unconstitutional as he was not under the influence, the cited reason for the stop. The Oath Keepers, primary facilitators of today’s event, have stated they are fully behind Sheriff Finch’s defense of Second Amendment. The Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association have been assisting in raising funds for Finch, who has been suspended without pay. Radio host Burnie Thompson also took the stage today and announced that he possessed a recording from the FDLE operation that he would be playing for Governor Rick Scott at their meeting next week and said that the group was “on the verge” of victory in their battle to have Finch reinstated.
This support led today’s fundraiser for the Sheriff to exceed capacity and spill into the lobbies around the conference hall. “Normally, higher ups try to cover up when one of their officers exceeds their authority. Normally, they’d just let an innocent man to go to jail. We finally get a sheriff that steps in and lets the innocent man go free and the state arrests him” said one attendee, a sentiment echoed by many. The crowd openly vilified FDLE for, as they see it, arresting a Sheriff that broke ranks with the code of silence and helped a citizen who was going to be arrested by an over-zealous deputy. It should be noted that under Florida law, a person is not required to have a concealed weapons permit to have a firearm in their vehicle.
Sheriff Finch refused a deal in which, in exchange for his resignation, all charges would be deferred. Jury selection is set to begin on September 30th.