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First African-American mayor laid to rest

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A well-known La-
Fayette resident with an
extensive background in
law enforcement and local
politics was laid to rest
last week. The man who
holds a place in the his-
tory books of LaFayette
as the first African Ameri

can mayor in the city and
decades long law man
passed away in late No-
vember, but now leaves
an extensive resume with
his legacy on the city of
LaFayette.
Robert C. Finley, was
laid to rest on Friday
November 30, 2018 after
a ceremony at Mt. Sellers
Baptist Church in LaFay-
ette. The ceremony which
was attended by numerous
law enforcement officials
and included a motorcade
led by an ALEA motor-
cycle officer made its way
to the Handy Cemetery
where Finley now lies in
permanent peace.
Robert C. Finley was
a native of the area. He
was born in Chambers
County in the summer of
1953 and spent his early
life being educated in
Chambers County Schools
and later graduating from
LaFayette High School.
After graduation Finley
began his lifelong love
of law enforcement. Mr.
Finley attended the police
academy in Jacksonville,
Alabama where he gradu-
ated shortly after high
school.
In February of 1978
Finley became a police of-
ficer in the city of LaFay

ette. Finley would spend
his next fourteen years
serving the residents of
LaFayette as a police of-
ficer. His service record to
the residents of LaFayette
and Chambers County did
not end there. After leav-
ing LaFayette PD, Finley
later went on to work with
the Chambers County
Sheriff’s Office. Over his
years of service with that
agency Finley worked his
way through the depart-
ment’s ranks and obtained
the rank of Captain before
his retirement which was
announced in December
of 2017.
During a stint of time
shortly after leaving the
LaFayette Police Depart-
ment, Finley took a swing
into politics. He was first
elected to the LaFayette
City Council in 1996 and
later elected Mayor of the
city of LaFayette in 2000.
He would be re-elected in
2004 and serve until 2008,
when he was defeated by
then 21-year-old Matthew
Hurst for the Mayor seat.
The election of Finley
to the position of Mayor of
LaFayette was historical in
nature. The victory he sus-
tained in 2000 made him
the first African American
mayor in the city’s history.
Finley also made two
more runs for the posi-
tion of mayor in 2012 and
2016, but was not the win-
ner in those races.
Many in LaFayette
carry positive memories of
Finley. Prior to his retire-
ment from the Chambers
County Sheriff’s Office
last year he was presented
with an honor from the
county commission for
his twenty five years of
service to the residents of
Chambers County.
Finley passed away
on Saturday November
24, 2018 at East Alabama
Medical Center in Ope-
lika. He was 65-years-old
at the time of his passing.
He leaves behind his wife,
a son, two daughters,
and a two grandchildren
among other numerous
family members