Hamilton County (TN) Deputy Daniel Wilkey is one sick man. Recently, we covered his elevation into the ever-swelling ranks of Law Enforcement Officer What Have Been Sued. But Wilkey joined in the most spectacular fashion: he was sued twice in the same day.
This wasn’t the only thing that made Deputy Wilkey stand out. The allegations were highly unusual, to say the least. In one case, Deputy Wilkey claimed to be able to smell the odor of marijuana emanating from a car that passed him while his cruiser idled on a cross street. This and alleged illegal window tint were used to justify a stop that escalated into the nonconsensual anal search of the vehicle’s passenger, resulting in the tearing of the man’s anus and the aggravation of his existing hernia.
The second lawsuit’s allegations were just as disturbing. And they wandered off into areas not normally seen in civil rights lawsuits. The second plaintiff claimed Deputy Wilkey searched her car and her bra before telling her she’d get off with a lighter punishment if she agreed to be baptized in a nearby lake. This weird ritual was carried out in the presence of Deputy Jacob Goforth, who did nothing to stop Wilkey’s forced baptism of a female citizen.
Wilkey is facing two more lawsuits, according to WRCB TV. And there’s even more weird sociopathy present in the accusations. On July 9th, Deputy Wilkey was sued by a man who claims the deputy used excessive force during a traffic stop over window tint.
This lawsuit [PDF] claims the deputies performed an illegal search of his vehicle by detaining him until they could run a drug dog around his car. The drug dog supposedly alerted but no drugs were found. The deputies also allegedly told the man to stand with his hands on the hot hood of a vehicle, resulting in burns.
The second lawsuit [PDF], filed October 17th, details Deputy Wilkey’s harassment of six minors in a vehicle. Once again, Wilkey told the driver and occupants he had stopped them for illegal window tint. He was also accompanied by Deputy Jacob Goforth, who was present during Wilkey’s forced baptism of another driver. Wilkey also claimed he “smelled weed,” apparently to justify the actions he took next. He ordered all of the minors out of the car and began doing things only Deputy Wilkey would ever do.
Without any lawful justification, Wilkey then ordered the minors to take their cell phones and place the phones inside the vehicle.
As Goforth stood by and watched, Wilkey began a series of comments to the minors about religion and said that he was “praying” for them.
Interspersed in his comments about God, Jesus and religion were Wilkey’s insults, foul language, and comments about how the minors will end up like their “piece of s#*t parents” and become “disappointments.”
As Goforth stood by in apparent silent approval, Wilkey told the minors the “law” did not allow them to call their parents. He then ordered the single male minor to strip down. The minor stripped down to his boxers. Wilkey told the minor to take his boxers off. The minor refused.
Wilkey then searched the five females, running his hands over their entire bodies and spending extra time on their breasts, buttocks, and crotches. He pulled out one minor’s bra and “shook” it, supposedly looking for contraband. (He did the same thing to the woman he forcibly baptized.)
The entire ordeal lasted nearly two hours, with the minors being subjected to Wilkey’s prayers, insults, and groping while standing in the rain.
The lawsuit then goes on to point out the Sheriff’s Office has refused to discipline or fire a number of deputies and jailers who have engaged in serious misconduct. It has also failed to do anything with Deputy Wilkey other than give him a paid vacation.
Wilkey has had four lawsuits filed against him this year. Three of the four allege their stops were predicated on window tint violations. Two of the four state Wilkey claimed he “smelled weed.” Two of the lawsuits allege horrific levels of misconduct tied to Wilkey’s very unique brand of religion. There’s a pattern here and patterns are bad news for law enforcement agencies that hope to get themselves dismissed from lawsuits.
Then there’s Deputy Goforth who has stood by and allowed Wilkey to violate rights. Hopefully that will hurt him just as much as these lawsuits will hurt Deputy Wilkey.
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