Arlington officer praised for arrest he didn't make

Lynnanne Nguyen reports.

An Arlington officer is being praised for an arrest he didn’t make nearly two years ago.

Officer Dick Hill tried to pull over Andrew Finch for not having a valid inspection sticker in 2014. But Finch also had marijuana in his trunk that he didn’t want to get in trouble for.

Finch had a misdemeanor for marijuana on his record already, so he took off through a school zone, and finally stopped in a neighborhood.

“The first thing I said was, ‘Don't shoot, don't shoot. I don't have a gun.’ Here it is, I'm thinking my life is going to be over,” Finch said. “He commanded me to the ground immediately, I dropped and I laid here.”

Finch confessed to Hill why he was running and that there was marijuana in the car.

“He thanked me for my honesty and in that moment I was almost full of tears, almost broke down because I knew he was letting me go,’ Finch said.

Officer Hill let Finch off with two tickets for not having a valid driver’s license or inspection. He also made him dump the marijuana.

Finch believes he’d still be behind bars if he hadn’t gotten a second chance.

Since that day, Finch said he has a steady job and has been able to be there for his 3-year old daughter, a reality he credits to Officer Hill.

“The job is not to take everybody to jail,” Hill said, who has been patrolling Arlington for more than four decades. “You learn to read, this person needs a break… you know?”

Two years later, the two reunited last week -- leading them to a moment shared on Facebook that went viral.

“It makes me feel good. Not just me that I was able to do something but for him to better his life,” Hill said.

Finch said he hopes people can learn from his story not to make assumptions about one another.

“It meant the world because he didn't just see me for a thug, a common criminal. He looked past all that,” Finch said. “He saw me for a person.”

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