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The Short Straw

August, 2003

The story of Ptl. Wayne Finnegan that every New Jersey Officer 

Should Know because tomorrow it could be you!

 

       On Wednesday, July 30, 2003 a rally took place. It was written about in an article in the Press of Atlantic City, a South Jersey newspaper.

 

       A layman reading of this piece leaves a taste in your mouth of American democracy at work.  It resonates of freedom of speech and assembly, the uniting of peoples to protest the evils of oppression and those who oppress, the quest for civil rights continuing by those not afraid to stand up, wave their collective fists and be counted.

 

       Yes, it was a classic exercise of American Constitutional Rights and it would have been a great symbol of America except for the fact that it was all a load of crap.

 

 

 

       On June 21, 2003 Patrolman Wayne Finnegan of the Linwood Police Department picked the short straw. On that June day he assisted another officer on a motor vehicle stop. Today, he’s a racial profiler. 

 

       Ptl. Finnegan is the latest cause for various activists and organizations that, apparently, are running a bit low on causes. They held a rally protesting racial profiling on Wednesday, July 30, 2003 in front of the Headquarters of the Linwood Police Department in Atlantic County all because of a motor vehicle stop which occurred on that day in June.

 

       An article appeared in the Atlantic City Press on July 31, 2003 covering the event. It was filled with descriptions of people standing “defiantly” and quotes from at least four different rally participants. It mentioned “laudatory honks” and “thumbs up” being given by some passing motorists to the demonstrators. It directly quoted three of the different signs carried by protesters which read, “Racism is real here,” “Stop targeting black motorists in Linwood,” and “Racial Profiling Exists.” It mentioned a previous accusation against the patrolman and previous accusations made against the department.

 

       What was interestingly omitted from the article were several facts including how the woman was stopped for speeding, her vehicle only had one license plate, the inspection sticker was bad, the vehicle was unregistered, she had no proof of insurance, and the woman’s driver’s license was suspended. Additionally, she was charged with Obstruction of Law, Disorderly Conduct, and Resisting Arrest. These facts would represent what? The other side of the story perhaps? (Sarcastic Tone)

 

       There were no indications anywhere in the article that any attempt had been made to get this other side of the story. Yes, the press did speak to department and town officials, but in an incident such as this, unless or until the department clears the officer, they do not represent the officer. Interviewing agency administrators does not represent getting both sides of the story. The department becomes a separate and independent entity that investigates the officer and exonerates or accuses the officer. An analogy would be doing an article on a crime and interviewing the prosecution and the victim but not the defense attorney and presenting the article as being an objective assessment of the crime resulting from interviews with all sides involved.

 

       Again, until an officer is cleared, if he or she is cleared, the department serves as a fact finder as they should. This is not a knock on department administrations either. They have a public obligation to conduct an investigation, determine a disposition, and take action if needed, and we fully accept this, but we find it reprehensible that the press will take “The incident is still under investigation” as the subject officer’s version.

 

       Obtaining both sides of the story would have to include interviewing or making an attempt to interview the officer, the PBA, FOP, STFA or whichever union represents him or her, or his or her attorney if one had been retained.

 

       Ideally, what we expect of the press is very similar to what we expect of our judges; to be “neutral and detached.” According to Article IV of the American Society of Newspaper Editors’ Statement of Principles, “Every effort must be made to assure that the news content is accurate, free from bias and in context, and that all sides are presented fairly.” From reading this article, it appears that the Press of Atlantic City may have been short on reporters that day and asked the protesters if one of them could write the article. Shame on you! If you’re going to mention a police officer by name in the same article as “racial profiling” to be read by his family, friends, and neighbors, you should at least try and balance the story!

 

       Following are direct quotations from either protesters or quotations of what was written on the signs they were carrying which were all depicted in the article:

 

"Racism is Real Here"

"There are officers who are giving the Linwood police a bad name,"

“The people that are supposed to be protecting you are the ones doing the most harm."

"I thought we were over this kind of stuff." "This is supposed to be a new era. It's immature."

"Stop targeting black motorists in Linwood."

"Racial Profiling Exists."

"They are targeting certain people.” "It's not right. We're not living in ancient times."

"These things have to be exposed." "If they don't, they get worse and worse."

 

       Following are direct quotations from persons defending the officer.

 

“               ”

 

       That is just horrible journalism.

 

       The article, however, is not the story here.

 

       After the incident that precipitated this entire fiasco, an article was published in the Press of Atlantic City regarding same. It appeared that the reporter interviewed the woman who was stopped, as there were several direct quotes.

 

       Nowhere in the article did it mention that the officer used racial epithets toward this woman. Nowhere did she indicate that the officer demonstrated any obvious racial bias. She even admitted “all my things [presumably referring to her vehicle paperwork] weren’t together.”

 

       So how does this incident take a leap to racial profiling? The leap was taken solely because Ptl. Finnegan is white and this woman is not. This is the first problem.

 

       The second problem is that Officer Finnegan is being accused of racial profiling. When you read the initial and the most recent article, it appears that the accuser is protesting the arrest and the manner of arrest, not the stop. In fact, Ptl. Finnegan wasn't even the one who stopped her!  Well, racial profiling refers to stopping people solely or partly on the basis of their race. If her complaint is with the arrest, then the issue of racial profiling is moot. This just demonstrates how intellectually clumsy these leaps can be.  However, "clumsy" would imply accidental.  This was intentional. 

 

       Also, she is flying the flag of racial profiling over this incident when the definition of racial profiling, as defined by the ACLU, is not even met by her account of the incident. One cannot help but become suspect as to her motives.

 

       Mentioned in both articles was the fact there were previous complaints about the officer. Newsflash! Every single one of us has had previous complaints made against us! People complain about police officers the same way they do about waiters, doctors, cashiers, and tellers. Sometimes it’s unfounded, and sometimes it’s not. Just because a previous complaint was unfounded does not mean that we are innocent in the matter at hand, and just because a previous complaint was sustained does not mean that we are guilty.

 

       Racial profiling is wrong. We are wholeheartedly opposed to a world where, based solely or partly on their skin color, people can be stopped and “asked for their papers.” This practice is reminiscent of 1939 Nazi Germany. There is no room for this practice in a civilized and free society. It is just Un-American, and there should be no tolerance for such a practice.

 

       However, public, baseless attacks on police officers because you’re not happy about getting arrested are also wrong. The answer to this problem, real or perceived, is not to accuse every police officer of racial profiling when he or she stops someone of color.

 

       The bottom line is that this woman went to the press and publicly accused this police officer of being racist and performing his official duties illegally despite the fact that there was not the slightest indication of racism. She caused his name to be dragged though the dirt in a widely circulated newspaper. She solicited organizations and her cronies to jump on board, and they blindly followed. In all fairness, we, the law enforcement community, and even this website which is clearly pro-law enforcement, are unable to honestly declare that every action and every word ever spoken by the Ptl. Wayne Finnegan has been proper. We find it miraculous that there are people out there with the apparent Wisdom of Solomon who can make such declarations about this woman.

 

       By all behind-the-scene accounts, Ptl. Wayne Finnegan is an excellent cop. He is a 16-year, decorated police veteran who still finds the power and motivation to go to work every day and look for bad guys. He is a proactive officer who still goes out and makes CDS and DWI arrests. He has worked with persons of color both on and off duty and has never had a problem. Officer Finnegan is a football coach, a basketball coach, and a former United States Marine. He once brought a dead 2-year-old infant back to life using CPR and recently convinced a suicidal, knife wielding man into surrendering and getting help. Those close to him describe him as “professional, a family man, courteous, and fair and committed.”

 

        Ma’am, if you were so unhappy with the tickets, you could have called one of us. We would have rather paid them ourselves than watch you try and destroy the career and reputation of a good police officer. The ranks of modern-day lawmen are filled with decent, principled men and women, and you, madam, give the impression of being a polarizing seeker of glory with one eye on the camera and the other on municipal coffers. Together, we hold no claim of unblemished yesterdays or tomorrows, but most of us try, and we try in all communities, and we try with all persons of all colors.

 

       As far as those who jumped on her bandwagon, do you even care to learn the facts of a case before joining some cause? Do you just go when asked to participate in a media lynching without knowing whose neck the noose is being placed around and why?  

 

       Ptl. Finnegan’s only mistake was assisting another officer with the wrong person. Chances are, any of the rest of us would be sitting in his hot seat had we been the lucky one to find her. No, Ptl. Wayne Finnegan’s only crime was choosing the short straw.

 

       We will be following this fiasco closely, and updates are to follow.  While Ptl. Wayne Finnegan may be alone in this attack, he is, most certainly, not alone.  When you attack one, you attack all.

 

NJLawman.com

 

Print and post this article in your headquarters

and email it to every officer in your address book!

 

To share your thoughts with Ptl. Finnegan,

use the scroll box at the top of this page.

 

 

Guest Column responding 

to this month's editorial by Ptl. X

 

August 11, 2003

 ALL WHITE COPS ARE PRESUMED RACIST

 

It all starts with a rolling of the eyes, a long obvious exhale, followed by the abrupt demand for justification, “Why are you stopping me?” You cringe and silently wonder why the hell you even bother getting involved with stopping cars nowadays. Being a good cop, you patiently articulate that driving 75 M.P.H. in a 50 M.P.H. zone is illegal as well as making three rapid lane changes without signaling. Did you really expect your carefully worded, thorough explanation would dispel the driver’s suspicions? After all, you are a white cop and he is a black motorist and that only means one thing in New Jersey: A presumption of racial profiling.

 

A presumption of racism has been forged into New Jersey law by a remarkably vague statute which desperately tries to outlaw prejudice in policing. The statute is carefully entitled “Pattern of Official Misconduct” to achieve widespread appeal but its sweeping language gives any disgruntled black motorist a license to witch hunt; just another game of pin-the-statistics-on-the-white-cop. As it now stands, the statute automatically provides a substantive argument for racial bias as long as the cop is white and the driver is black. This troubling concept goes to the core of the matter in Linwood; whenever a black motorist receives a ticket from a white cop a counter charge for racial profiling can be made. Apparently, nothing more than the cross-racial feature of the traffic stop is required to substantiate the third degree criminal complaint.

 

Do you think I am exaggerating? Study the Linwood case and consider this: on what basis, other than the mere fact of race, does the “victim” rest her claim of racial profiling? Isn’t the court clerk or prosecutor derelict by not requiring someone to show at least some modicum of proof before such a serious crime is charged? The unjust accusations in Linwood will be repeated; get ready for the Profiling Parade to come right down your Main Street next.

 

How will New Jersey cops reconcile the dilemma of keeping the streets safe with proactive police work if all white cops are presumed racist? The answer may simply be to let the cops “stick to their own kind” when enforcing the law. Separate but equal seems to be indirectly endorsed by the anti-profiling crowd. For example, if white cops only stop white motorists, black cops only stop black motorists, Latino cops only stop Latinos, Asians cops only Asians, etc., then a racial profiling claim couldn’t be possible without having to make some absurd argument that the cops are prejudice of their own race. Hopefully we can all agree that such an argument is just downright stupid.

 

Indeed, let’s just scrap community policing for Racially Symmetrical Policing. We can have “Blacks-Only” police precincts in the black neighborhoods and “Whites-Only” precincts in white neighborhoods. Will that ensure an end to police bias? Every cop car should be traded in for eight-seat Ford Econo-line vans to ensure that a rolling Rainbow Coalition of cops is available to ensure racial symmetry during every traffic stop or police-citizen encounter. But I fear even these drastic measures may not be enough to overcome the presumption that all white cops are racist.

 

          - Ptl. X

 

August 19, 2003

"This is the first time we've ever written a letter like this, but it's also the first time that we've seen a fine man who has always put his professional duties ahead of everything else, be so unfairly maligned in the public press.

 

Our family has known Officer Wayne Finnegan for many years. He has always demonstrated absolute professionalism and a depth of caring that only comes from extensive experience.

 

Not only is Officer Finnegan the consummate law officer, but he and all the members of the Linwood Police Department instill a true sense of safety and confidence that too often is missing (or extremely shaky) in our society today.

 

We have been most fortunate that our own personal experiences with law enforcement over the years have been quite minor. However, if anything major were to occur, our family and all the residents of Linwood, N.J. would feel secure in the knowledge that Officer Wayne Finnegan is on the job.

 

          The Romano Family

          -Linwood, New Jersey

 

 

August 19, 2003

"Wayne you're a good cop.  Don't let this crap get you down.  Easier said than done, I know.  When all is said and done, don't let this discourage you from going out and being a pro-active police officer.

 

What we as police officers should learn by this is that the news media is not our friend.  Sure, they can be of assistance when investigating certain crimes or trying to promote a positive police image.  More often than not, the news media enjoys attacking the police instead of helping the community.  We must turn our back on the news media.  Give them the information required by law, AND NOTHING MORE!   I have experienced that no matter how accurate and detailed a prepared press release is, the news media puts their own spin on the incidents in order to do one thing...sell their papers, or get TV viewers.  They don't care at what cost their subjective reporting has.  All members of the police should take pride in knowing they do a good job.  Only "tools" need to see their name in the paper as a result of a good arrest.

 

All law enforcement officers across the nation should unite and turn their back on the news media.  Ignoring them won't make them go away, but they won't be able to twist our words again!

 

Charles Cusack

Ocean City P.D.

 

 

August 19, 2003

"A rolling rainbow coalition! Very well said, but I prefer the big fish, little fish theory."

 

          -Anonymous

 

 

August 17, 2003

"As a retired law enforcement Officer from Atlantic County I have learned to ignore the Press because of their anti Police views.  It is a shame that they do have no idea how to get both sides of the story.  Many Officers have had to go through a lot because of the way they report.

 

Wayne is an upstanding Police Officer and I know he will come out of this okay.  I feel sorry for all those Officers who try day in and day out to do the right thing only to have constantly look over their shoulders.

 

It things like this that made the choice to retire easy.

 

Wayne hang in there, we are all watching and will be there for you, active or retired.

 

          -C. R.  

          -APD Retired

 

August 14, 2003

"Racial Profiling! Please.  Wayne's actions that day were only GOOD POLICE WORK!"

 

          -Anonymous

 

August 13, 2003

"Wayne, once again the media in our area has let their true colors come thru. The AC Press and Channel 40 are always looking to slam the local PD's. Anybody remember 2 years ago when the Lodi cop killer was out front of Ventnor PD protesting racial profiling? We're the only profession in which you are presumed guilty, until you prove otherwise. Please don't let them get to you. Keep your spirits up and don't pay attention to the half baked media down here.

 

          -A Concerned Brother

 

August 13, 2003

"Racial profiling is becoming a joke! Most of the reports claiming this are incorrect.  No documentation is made as to who is right and who is wrong and it seems our journalists are not checking for the truth!  Wish something could be done About their reports before they are published."

 

          -Anonymous

 

August 12, 2003

"Wayne..  I am an officer in Northern NJ.  This is the first I heard of this incident. I guess the Newark Star Ledger didn't pick up on it, or just thought the claims were baseless.  It sounds like you did your job & performed it well.  It looks like she wants an "out" and feels that this is how she is going to get it.  I had a trial about 6 years ago on a narcotics violation.  The defense attorney in the case tried to make it look like his client was only stopped because he was black (I am white)..  I had no clue on the stand during testimony that this was the attorney's objective.  His attempts at this were quickly squashed, and he was found guilty.  I don't know what would have happened had my case hit the papers such as yours did.  Keep your head up, Wayne..  you did no wrong..  I hope your department stands behind you, and if internal affairs finds that she has made false claims against you, that criminal charges be pursued against her for the accusations (as well as civil charges !). great job Wayne, and best of luck.. you are supported by your brothers in blue in Northern NJ !"

 

          -North Jersey Cop

 

August 11, 2003

"As a former resident of Linwood, I felt better knowing upstanding people like Wayne were protecting our city, homes and city streets.  We are behind you Wayne."

 

          -Anonymous

 

August 11, 2003

"Officer Finnegan is an outstanding citizen and officer.  If I were a parent he would be one of the few people I would trust to raise my child with high moral standards. That is how highly regarded he is in my household.

 

In regards to the prejudicial view of the AC Press, and the protestors: Defamation of character? A possibility (I am not a lawyer, but it sounds like it). Laziness? Yes. Sensationalism with half-truths? Yes.

 

I would like to remind everyone that there are good doctors and bad doctors as well as good journalists and bad journalists.  Why do you think the writer works for the AC Press and not the NY Times? (Rhetorical question).

 

I lived in the south for a few years where I witnessed true racism. The racist act was against a friend of mine and was truly unjust. There are racists in this wonderful country and to deny it would be ignorant. But, anytime a white officer arrests a law breaking black person does not qualify as racism. 

 

In my interpretation of the AC Press’ actions: Violate the Article IV of the American Society of Newspaper Editors’ Statement of Principles, Eliminate the Important Facts, Defame an Outstanding Officer and a person who risked his life as a Marine to defend the rights of all of us, including freedom of press. (Not freedom of AC Press to print misleading information)."

 

       Rich

 

August 11, 2003

"Wayne... Keep your chin up bro.  We in the law enforcement community know what kind of officer you are, and I am proud to have known you, and know that your neighboring police department will be there for backup when every you need us. The most annoying thing about this whole situation is the next day after the protest channel 40 news shows five black males that had just robbed the casinos and were taken into custody and how the five males were armed and dangerous and how lucky society was to have them off the street and in jail. but the press did not want to talk to the victims that worked for the casinos, and the patrons that were robbed outside of the casino, and to ask them if they felt their civil rights were violated. Wayne society has made it very hard for cops to do their job. So, for now we will keep our mouth shut and do our job the best way we know how, and keep remembering why we all took this thankless job. Wayne I rode with you on the Unity Tour and you showed great pride and refused to quit. So don't let this little obstacle set you back. you gave a lot of guys great inspiration and showed that anything is possible."

 

          -Your Brother  Cop

 

August 11, 2003

"Wayne is one of the most dedicated people I know.  When it comes to work, or riding in the Police Unity Tour, Wayne gives it his all.  I wish his accusers could sit down with him, and get to know the person who they are persecuting.  It would only take a few minutes, before they would realize the genuine kindness that pours out of Wayne.

        This pass May I had the pleasure of participating in the Police Unity Tour bicycle ride to Washington D.C. with Wayne Finnegan.  It was my third tour and I had a tough time.  Wayne however, who is  definitely not an avid bicyclist made the whole trip.  His dedication and heart motivated several other riders who might not have made the ride.

       I hope this ridiculous witch hunt is short lived, and that the people responsible realize that they have picked the wrong guy to persecute.  Wayne is a family man, cop, and friend to many who will be behind him 100% through this fiasco."

 

          -Detective Robert Koob

          -OCPD, NJ

 

August 09, 2003

"I have been following this story and the commentary with it.  I am not in law enforcement yet, but I did study not only criminal justice but political science for four years.  I am completely outraged by this whole pile of garbage.  I do not know Ptl. Finnegan personally, but I do know a LPD officer very well.  The Linwood PD is an upstanding police department in an area that rarely has problems.  The fact that this woman is ruining not only the reputation of an entire Department, but an entire life, outrages me.  Let me just give you a little anecdote.  My friend on LPD, was injured very badly and has been out of work for almost a year.  The men on this department have donated sick time, vacation time, comp time you name it, all so he could keep paying his bills.  Now to me that doesn't sound like people who would go out of their way to "profile" someone.  I just want Ptl. Finnegan to know that there are so many people behind him and pulling for him.  The truth will come to light, and you will be able to turn around to all of these idiots "protesting", and tell them to "bite you"!  Hold your head high officer, be proud of who you are and don't ever forget the people that do REALLY appreciate you guys putting your life on the line everyday!"

 

          -Anonymous

 

August 09, 2003

"Wayne, stay strong and keep your head up. The fact is you did your job and you did nothing wrong. Be safe brother!"

 

          -BMC

          -NJDOC

 

August 09, 2003

"My thoughts go out to Wayne and his family.  And also the Linwood Police Department.  This woman's attack on Wayne only shows her refusal to take responsibility for her own actions.  I hope she doesn't teach that to her students.  And on the topic of the Press of A.C....how about some unbiased news??  What a joke!!"

 

          -Teeney

 

August 09, 2003

"Wayne, admittedly, I don't know everything that happened that day, but I know that if a person has broken the law they should be stopped, regardless of their color.  If they don't do what they're told to do while they're stopped then they should be arrested.  Period.  Unfortunately these days, the word of the day is "accuse the officer and ye shall get off."  It sucks, but it is true.  You are just its latest victim.  I only hope that you are able to make it through unscathed.  Best of luck to you, and we're with you."

 

          -Anonymous

 

August 09, 2003

"I would like to say that the only victim here is Officer Finnegan. But of course the media (as usual) only gets half of the story. And they cant even get that right. Wayne hang in there because the truth will come out!!!"

 

          -A fellow Officer

 

August 09, 2003

"I have known Patrolman Finnegan for several months on and have found him to be a gentle man incapable of the allegations against him.  He is a kind man with his family and community at heart.  Good luck to you.  This time too shall pass."

 

          -A friend

 

August 8, 2003

"Like many others that have responded to this site, I also know Wayne Finnegan.  Wayne is the older brother of one of my closest friends, and I have known him for many years. 

 

       During those years, I have seen him as a brother, father, friend, United States Marine, and police officer.  Each of these titles carries a lot of responsibility and prestige.  Both of which Wayne has earned. 

       This past year I had the pleasure, as part of the Police Unity Tour, to ride my bicycle with Wayne to Washington D.C. in honor of all police officers that have fallen in the line of duty.  It was during this ride that I saw how big of a heart Wayne has.  He dug deep and persevered through the entire 200+ mile HILLY ride, without even thinking twice.  When I asked him how the hell he made the trip, he told me that, in the beginning,  he didn't think that he was going to be able to.  He then added that he had to do it for those who couldn't!!  That shows where his heart is, and how much he really cares.

 

       We all know that as members of law enforcement we are sometimes victims of our own cause.  We work hard day and night, and expect people to understand why we do it.  The reality is that many people do not.  Most people rely on the propaganda that is fed to them through the local media sources. That is why we must rely on each other, in the law enforcement community, for support.

 

       In this case, our local newspaper has chosen to report a story, and failed to report most of the facts.  Does this surprise you?  I am not surprised at all.  This IS how the media works.

 

       This is a speed bump in a police officers career that will soon pass, and give Wayne Finnegan another story to tell.

 

       During this investigation, after it has been ruled unfounded, and for years to come I will support Wayne Finnegan in every way that I can.  We are the professionals who are educated and skilled, and we are confident in our actions.  That is why it is our duty to keep having fun while we protect our citizens and arrest violators every day.

 

       Wayne, I know that this is a very difficult time for you and your family, but you have been through other difficult times as well.  This will soon pass, and everything will get back to normal.

 

       In the mean time, if you need anything or any type of support just let me know.  I will be glad to help.

 

       Linwood should consider themselves lucky to have you as a police officer!!!  Keep smiling.

 

          -Jay Prettyman

          -Ocean City Police Department

 

August 8, 2003

"It's a real shame that something like this comes out of you doing your job.  As long as you know you did the right thing, it will all work out in the end it always does when your right!!!!"

 

          -Anonymous

 

August 7, 2003

"Wayne...keep your chin up.  You followed procedure and did what was necessary, nothing more.  It is just a sad state of society when this card is played.  We're behind you."

 

          -NFPD

 

August 7, 2003

"Hold your head up high bro.  Don't let these clowns drag you down. It's a shame that it has come to this in this country. The 1st question asked when something goes down is were they black? Was the officer white?  It's wrong.  We are all behind you 100%!"

 

          -Department of Defense Police

 

August 7, 2003

"Wayne, hang in there buddy. The truth and justice will prevail. don't let these troublemakers bring you down."

 

          -Anonymous

 

August 7, 2003

"Patrolman Wayne Finnegan, Keep your head high you did the right thing. Your Department should also do the right thing by standing behind you. I hope the Department is NOT afraid of the ACLU or any other organization.  The Atlantic City Press only printed one side of you story. Most people know what the Atlantic City Press is about...a joke! "

 

          -Rick

 

August 7, 2003

"Funny that this article says that the rally is lead by Tyrone Foxworth, gee that name rings a bell, I've read his name in the newspaper before, isn't he the head Aerospace Engineering at NASA or is he common street criminal leading a rally. Anyone know this persons criminal background or any other attendee for that matter.  Well anyway at least he can carry a sign and yell.  Funny how his words are accepted as facts and he was not at the incident. This is such a bunch of crap. One thing is for sure, if there were no lawyers to make money off of this crap it would not happen. All this is about is someone trying to cash in on the current theme, Racial Profiling.  Just to demonstrate what  BS this really is think about Racial Profiling, its the word the protesters use. Stopping or targeting someone because of their race.  Wayne Finnegan didn't stop this downtrodden racial profiling victim, another officer did.  Also interesting was someone representing this woman when the story initially broke in the Liberal Press of AC describes the poor victim as, "she's never been in any trouble", Well, lets see, she's driving with a suspended DL, no reg and no ins card. Its not murder but what what do you call NEVER being in trouble!  Again support runs high in the Law Enforcement Community and with decent citizens everywhere for Wayne Finnegan because he is now the real Wayne we all offer our support to you in this unfortunate incident.  While simply doing your job, you have been victimized!"

 

          -Wayne

 

August 7, 2003

"Please don't let this bad press keep you down.  Its a shame that someone can just cry racial profiling and that everyone has to entertain this.  I have learned a few things as being a police officer.  One thing is the newspaper are always wrong when it comes to reporting police incidents.  Unless it's a direct quote from someone  they seem to always have tons and tons of misinformation.  Sometimes I want to write to them and tell them, that's not true because I was on the scene, but I think I would spend more time on the computer writing to the newspaper instead of visiting the NJLAWMAN site.  I also learned that when you give someone a break, they still come in to complain that you issued them a ticket.  So maybe this person crying racial profiling should be arrested for filing a false police report because good cops that do their job don't discriminate.  We need to all stick together, because the administrations won't back us until they prove we are not guilty.  

 

          -DG- NJ Police Officer

 

August 7, 2003

"I am so tired of this racial profiling garbage. Its such an easy way for these morons to cause tension in a good officers life. I use the word moron because whoever pulls this racial profiling trash is trash. Just a way for them to gain attention cause unwanted stress and get out of their trouble they got themselves into. The press....what can I say. They are just as big of a problem. I just can't get into it, this kind of trash bugs me to no end. Ptl Finnegan, you know you didn't do anything in violation of our laws, other officers who know you agree.  Try to keep a positive mind, keep your head up. Justice will be brought to this MORON who falsely accuses you."

 

          -SPD

August 7, 2003

"Wayne,

  Keep your chin up. You did a good job. Talk to people and don't let the stress of this incident get to you."

 

          -Anonymous

 

 

August 6, 2003

"Wayno, I just want to to say that I am behind you 100% and always have been.  To see what you were going through a few weeks ago when this first broke, a huge proud man with that devastated look on your face, was heartbreaking for me and all of your friends.  It is an absolute travesty. YOU DID YOUR JOB.   It is ironic that when an officer pulls someone over and gives them a warning, that officer is deemed a "great guy" or a real "fair" officer, but when that same officer decides to cut a ticket, right away he/she is labeled as a "jerk" or is "abusing his authority".  Like one of the previous posters stated (we miss you pal, hurry back), THE PAPER NEVER TOLD THE STORY OF WHAT LED UP TO THE INCIDENT.  Of course, speeding, suspended, unregistered, uninspected, and the rest of the litany of violations, for some of which she received WARNINGS (!) seem to apply in this matter to everyone except for this common traffic offender.  And...this person is teaching our youth in this country.  Teaching them what?  Blame everyone else for your mistakes and transgressions.  

 

       I would LOVE to see the look on this young lady's face the first time she gives a student a detention and that student's parents file a formal complaint with the school board.  When she is on the hot seat answering for why she did what she did, legitimate or not, I hope she sees the face of Wayne Finnegan and realizes that what goes around comes around.  I hope she is made to suffer the ridicule and humiliation that befalls upon her.

 

       Finally, for the Press and TV 40, who presented a wonderful account of the "story", I have this to say:  Your accounts were appropriate for someone who is looking for bats in a belfry.  Your one-sided, baseless, and tasteless reports reflected inaccurate, incomplete, biased journalism, stuffed with out and out lies.  Your articles/reports reflect a tabloid journalism approach to reporting that was, at best, insulting to my intelligence.  NEVER LET THE FACTS GET IN THE WAY OF A GOOD STORY, but I suppose you have to sell papers, ads, commercials, not to mention your souls, to make a buck.  Did you ever, for a second, consider the ramifications that your story had on Wayne's wife and son?  Didn't think so.  <<PHONE RINGS>>  It was the Press trying to sell me a subscription -- GO TO HELL.

 

       Wayne, I am proud to work with you and will remain so until the day we are both old and gray.  DO NOT CHANGE BECAUSE OF THIS.  We all love you and can't wait to see you vindicated in the papers and on TV.  You are an honorable officer that many should aspire to be like.  I agree with everyone else, racism sucks and there is no place for it in law enforcement, but that would be a better sentiment to utter if it was relevant to this case.  I spit upon the boots of any officer who engages in profiling or brutalizes for agenda, but WAYNE DID NOT AND HAS NEVER DONE THIS.  I speak for many, Wayno, that we love you and always will stand beside you, scapegoat that you are."

 

          -Tim

 

August 6, 2003

"Wayne Finnegan is a upstanding man of honor and character. He is a man of good will and a very very large heart.  To say that he is a racist is an absolute tragedy to him and his family.  He has always done his job to the letter of the law and will always perform his duties to the best of his abilities according to the law.  How do I know this, I am his brother.  My name is Tom Finnegan.  I have known him for 30 plus years and he has been my hero for all 30 plus years.  If this alleged victim of racial profiling needs to complain about his actions then that is her right to do so, however she is forgetting a few simple points.  She was wrong in all accounts.  When the IA investigation is completed by Linwood PD and the Prosecutor's Office the truth will come to light and he will once again be on top.  Linwood PD is a small department with approx. 20 officers.  To say the lower level officers in Linwood profile is absolutely ridiculous.  I know many of those officers and they are good people.  The administration of Linwood PD and the Mayor's office of Linwood should do the right thing and end this witch hunt because it is unfair to Wayne and his family.  Linwood PD should clear him because they have all the proof.  The Atlantic City Press is complete trash and totally anti-police in every aspect of alleged journalism.  They do not report the entire incident just the alleged victim's story.   In closing, Wayne should keep his head up high because he did nothing wrong.  He enforced the law and if the alleged victim in this case has a beef, then she should contact the state legislature.  She should not bring in the heavy hitters of the anti-police such as the ACLU.  They are victims of their own fate and are in unison because they cannot get ahead on their own merits and accomplishments in life."

 

         -Tom Finnegan

 

August 6, 2003

"I went through the same thing as a manager of a trash company.  I was accused of using [an offensive word].  I lost my job after 9 years of unblemished service.  I know Wayne and his family.  He's a dedicated officer, father and husband.  He is innocent just like I was.  I thank god he has someone to fight for him.  I was discarded like the trash I was paid to pick up.  Its all about the money.  [The company]  thought it was easier to ruin my life and pay some hush money.  Keep your head up Wayne, you did nothing wrong."

 

          -JSI 

 

August 6, 2003

"I know Wayne and find this story to be unbelievable."

 

          -ROCKY

          -FLORIDA

 

August 5, 2003

"I would just like to simply respond to the gentleman who said "racial profiling does indeed exist"  Prior to that he mentioned he was not a police officer. That being said, and him not being in an actual police department environment, I would like to know why you feel so strongly that it does exist. Is it because of the past? You know 50 yrs ago, When we know it did exist. Well a lot has changed since then including the officers in the departments. We are living in a new era, an era where we as police officers simply want to go to work do our jobs and get home safely. As far as all the videos with the beatings and and the abuse, every video I have ever seen has been missing one important part, the beginning. You know the part where the police officer was attempting to stop a suspect as he was traveling through quiet residential streets with a stolen vehicle at a high rate of speed or where a suspect had a knife to a innocent victim. And then the officer would attempt to subdue the suspect and while doing so the suspect would be resisting by kicking, punching, and in some cases trying to even take the officers life. After all this the video cameras turn on and of course they usually then pick up the officer using physical force as a means to subdue a violent criminal to get him/her off the streets to protect the citizens. And then the officer is accused of police brutality.  Sound familar?  We, the police officers have an obligation to protect and serve the community of which we work in. You as the citizens grant us this obligation. We as the police fulfill this obligation to the BEST of our ability.  You asked how are you to know which one of us are bad and out for revenge. Well bank on this thought, how are we to know who is the next person that is going to try and take our life or even yours? Let me ask you this do you have to worry about that thought every morning before you leave for work? No, you don't. But we do as we put on our vest every morning to protect you and your family."

 

           -Mike

           -LPD

 

August 5, 2003

"Wayne... Keep your chin up and don't let some moron try to ruin your career.  From what I have been told you did exactly what any good officer would do,  stop a person for violating the law.  In this case several laws.  The problem today is that certain people will try anything to get above the law.  As for the media just remember that you are dealing with a bleeding heart liberal that is looking to try and make a name for themselves to better their career at the expense of anyone they can.  Hold your chin up high and fight for what is right.  You doing your job the way you are supposed to."

 

       -Tony

       -A fellow brother in law enforcement

 

August 5, 2003

"In a world were we need law enforcement officers more than ever, it's a shame that we have to waste time with this kind of out-dated slander.  What a major disservice this is to everyone when this kind of racial mud-slinging is held over an officers head when he's just trying to do his job.  It's reverse racism like this that keeps our country from making real social progress.  Keep your head held high Officer Finnegan.  Have faith that justice shall prevail.  Keep up the good work and God Bless."

 

          -Ashlee

 

August 5, 2003

"As a resident of Linwood and who knows Wayne personally, I can tell you he is not racist.  What disgusts me is how Wayne's name is being blemished and the facts show no such wrong doing had occurred."

 

          -Alison

 

August 5, 2003

"First, let me say that I am a white male and also I am not a police officer.  With that said, I would like to state my opinion that racial profiling does indeed exist.  On the other side of the fence, minorities are all too quick to use "race" as an excuse for everything.  If what I have read here is all true and correct, then I feel that Officer Finnegan was not guilty of anything other than simply doing his job.  However, all over the country, people have personal stories and videotapes of police abuse.  Not all cops are bad, but how can we "civilians" know which one of you is good and which one is out for revenge or a power trip?  How are we supposed to know?  Thanks for reading."

 

          -Anonymous

 

August 5, 2003

"Wayne, keep your chin up and keep doing your job. Unfortunately, in this job, if you are a worker; expect someone to have a problem with it. But if you know what you did is right and you can look in the mirror, then you are nothing more than a good COP."

 

          -Bill Bowen MCPD

 

August 4, 2003

"Wayne don't let this bother you. You know, I know and she knows this all BS.  As long as I have known you Wayne, You have been a by the book cop.  I've worked by your side long enough to know this.  You are a great cop who knows how to do his job don't let this get you down. In the end it will show that she was just looking to get out of everything. And as for the press don't think you will ever receive courtesy. You show us none and that is something we do NOT forget. We support you Wayne 110%. If there is anything you need you know you can call me. Like the people below me said.  KEEP THAT HEAD UP!!!!!"

 

          -Mike & Christine

          -LPD

 

August 4, 2003

"If someone can't fight the ticket or the charge because they know they have done wrong, then they play the race game. Keep you head up Patrolman, wear that Shield with Pride."

 

 

          -Anonymous

 

August 4, 2003

"I know Wayne Finnegan very well. I know he is not a racist, he is far from it. He is a good cop! The truth will come out and prove he did noting wrong, just his job." 

 

          -Anonymous

 

August 4, 2003

"I am still not understanding how a teacher can be so stupid?   Does she really think that this really all happened to her?  I really am very happy that she is not teaching any of my children and I am still wondering what she is teaching.  I am still wondering when the Atlantic City Press will print the letters to the editor that clearly defend this officer, that clearly point out that there are always two sides of the story, that clearly point out that there are witnesses to this incident that are not police officers.  I am still wondering how the editor could allow such one sided articles be printed.  I am disgusted with her, the Press, and the playing of the race card.  Racial profiling does exist still in this country and it is wrong but in this case it did not happen nor did the brutality with the arrest happen. She should be ashamed and embarrassed.  I am still also wondering that if I  were breaking the law as a white woman could I play the race card as she is doing?  I hope to see my letter to the Press printed soon and I hope that everyone starts to realize that the Press is a very unfair and unbalanced paper who needs to hire educated reporters and an educated editor. And I hope everyone realizes this woman needs to earn her money honestly by working , not lying.  God Bless this officer and his family.  And God Help this woman, her supporters, and the Press."

 

          -Kathleen Hiers

          -Florida

 

August 4, 2003

"This is exactly what I feared in March when I tried to oppose legislation that was drafted and passed by our law makers.  That law is a disservice to the minority community and law enforcement in general.  People will have the ability to use profiling as a defense strategy to mitigate prosecution.  And, while doing so effect an officer in a negative way they may resonate with him/her forever.  I am not afraid to sign my posts because I am completely against profiling.  However, I am equally opposed to individuals making false accusations against police officers, and should they be found to be false, the Chief of that agency has an obligation to his officers to charge the accusers accordingly."

 

          -Chris Ferrari, Chief

          -Oaklyn Police Department

 

August 4, 2003

"I know Wayne is not racist and that will be proven.  But I would like to comment about the Press of Atlantic City.  This is not there first cop bashing article by any means.  Just take a look at there so called news paper every now and then.  This kind of one sided story telling is a common theme with them.  Especially when its about a police officer.  I hope that people read this post and watch how the Press of A.C. operates.  I especially hope that NJ Lawman does a story or looks into this supposed news papers practices.  Some other cop bashing stories have been in the paper recently about A.C.P.D officers shooting armed suspects.  Each story had a little dig against the officer that had absolutely nothing to do with the incident they were writing about.  And of course there was little or nothing about the armed suspects past.  If your going to mention something then tell both sides....good or bad.  But hey, they only sell papers down here because we don't have any other local paper.  If we did I'm sure people would find reading a fair and non biased paper more stimulating."

 

          -Anonymous

 

August 4, 2003

"This woman is a teacher, molding the minds of the future. How does she set an example? By a BS cry of racism and having a litany of violations regarding her vehicle, she's showing her students that even if you're wrong, blame someone else for your own stupidity or laziness. Thank God my daughter won't be taught by this pillar of ignorance."

 

          --Cop in Ocean County

 

 

August 4, 2003

"I Know Mr. Finnegan and he's a really nice guy and I know that he isn't racist for a fact. In the situation that was there and what she had done even if she was white he would have done the same thing. I know he isn't a forceful person and I don't believe he did anything to hurt anyone."

 

          -Anonymous

 

August 4, 2003

"I know Wayne personally and in no way shape or form is he racist!!  It is a disgrace that this young women attempting to use her race as a get out of jail free card and a cash cow.  It is painfully clear that some in the law enforcement community are racist and those who REALLY are will have there day.  But it in this case there is no question that Wayne is not one of those few Officers.  This women is attempting to ride the coat tails of the State Police mess.  But this is one ride that should have never started!  She is putting to shame all of the hard work and effort that has gone into real life issues of profiling and discrimination.  Her accusations are only taking away justice from the honest and true victims of profiling and discrimination.  I hope and pray that the real victims of profiling and discrimination....and the leaders/members of the organizations that help and support them, see the true facts in this case.  Because the truth is not racism, the truth is a women in trouble trying to blame someone else for those troubles. It hurts to say it, but this women crying race is like crying wolf.  Eventually no one will listen!  And that will put to waste all of the efforts and progress made by every race.  And it especially all of the citizens of this country who were real and true victims.  My thoughts go out to all of those who are involved in this incident.  And I truly look forward to seeing Wayne win this unwarranted attack."

 

          -Anonymous

 

August 3, 2003

"Ptl. Finnegan  is and has been a very good police officer who does not racial profile.  He was simply doing his job on this day, assisting another officer - the officer who pulled her over.  I find it disgraceful that she is claiming racial profiling when she is an educated woman who was clearly in violation of the law.  She has the support of people and groups that feel that they are above the law based on their color of skin.  I know that I, as a white woman, cannot break the law and then expect to get out of it because of my skin color-even if it was a black officer who I was dealing with.  I certainly hope that all people of all races will realize that very rarely does racial profiling exist and just accept that police officers of all races are simply doing their jobs.  And if she is so concerned about racial profiling then why is she not claiming this with the original officer who pulled her over?  It sounds like she was clearly in the wrong and refuses to accept this and grow up and move on.  Her occupation is a teacher and I just have to wonder and worry what she is teaching.  A police officer seldom is given thanks but quick to be given plenty of criticism and that goes for all police officers of all races.  I would like to ask her a few questions - First, if she were dealing with a black officer would she still be playing the race card?  Second, are you proud of yourself?  Third, are you that educated and that stupid at the same time?  And fourth,  how much of a financial settlement are you seeking?  Now I must also ask the Atlantic City Press a few questions?  First, have you even thought to try to get and print the officers side?  Second, do you have any educated reporters and editors on your staff?  Third, do you ever print articles about the good and heroic things that officers do on a daily basis?"

 

          -Kathleen Hiers

          -Florida

 

August 3, 2003

"I Know officer Finnegan .  He is no Racist.  I wish to god Racism in this world would not exist. But as long as people falsely accuse people of being Racist it will always exist. Miss Seymore will have to live with herself. She seems to forget that the reason she got into all this mess was because she was speeding,  had no insurance, driving with a suspended license.  As a young, educated teacher and female, She should have enough respect for herself to think about what pain she is causing for someone else and eventually herself.  Keep your head High Finnegan!"

 

          -Lisa and Brian

 

August 3, 2003

"Wayne is a good man and a good officer. Keep your head up, and don't stop being the man you are for these idiots."

 

          -Anonymous

 

August 3, 2003

"The entire situation is disgraceful and typical.  Wayne, keep your head up!"

 

          -LT

          -Jersey City PD