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Officer Fired For Cowardice

Tue., Dec. 17, 1996, midnight

An 11-year veteran police officer was fired for cowardice for leaving a bank while it was being robbed. The detective said he was going for backup.

Cornelius Dean Finley, who is black, claims his dismissal was really retaliation for his attempt to join a lawsuit that accuses the police department of racial discrimination.

Police Chief Ron Palmer said Monday that Finley had a duty to stay at the scene so that none of the bank customers or employees got hurt. Finley, 39, was dismissed on Saturday for “gross neglect of duty and cowardice.”

“Normal citizens stood their ground while a police officer left the scene. It is paramount to expect more,” Palmer said. He didn’t specify how he expected Finley to protect the others, though he said he didn’t mean the detective should have used his gun.

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