Tennessee Deputy Who Baptised An Arrestee And Strip Searched A Minor Now Dealing With 44 Criminal Charges And Five Lawsuits

from the LAW-ENFORCEMENT-OFFICER-OF-THE-YEAR dept

Tennessee sheriff’s deputy Daniel Wilkey has racked up some amazing stats during his short law enforcement career. At the age of 26, Deputy Daniel Wilkey is at his second law enforcement agency, having left the Rhea County Sheriff’s Office for the Hamilton County in 2018.

During his time as a Rhea County deputy, Daniel Wilkey was named in one (1) federal lawsuit for fatally shooting a person. Since his arrival in Hamilton County in February 2018, Wilkey has been hit with five (5) civil rights lawsuits. Fortunately, none of these involve Wilkey killing anyone.

More unfortunately, about half of them break new ground in civil rights violation territory. One alleges an unlawful roadside anal search that injured the searchee. Another involves a super-weird forced baptism in a nearby lake, supposedly in exchange for leniency with a drug arrest. Both of those were filed on the same day.

Yet another two (2) lawsuits involve minors, roadside strip searches, and Wilkey’s bizarre personal blend of religious affirmations and verbal abuse.

But Wilkey’s biggest numbers are his latest. Via Cacobot comes this update: Deputy Wilkey is facing almost as many felony charges as he is years-old.

Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Daniel Wilkey has been indicted on 44 criminal charges, including 25 felonies, “pertaining to incidents he was involved in while on duty in an official capacity,” according to the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office.

Here are the charges (with counts per), which can pretty much be read to the tune “Twelve Days of Christmas” [felonies in bold]:

10 Reckless Driving
9 Official oppression
7 Reckless endangerment
6 Sexual Battery
4 Stalking
3 Assault
2 False imprisonment
2 Rape
1 Extortion

All this from a deputy who’s only been with his current agency for ten (10) months. And in that short period of time, he managed to rack up eight (8) internal affairs investigations.

The criminal charges only add to Wilkey’s multitudinous problems. Judges in two of the four lawsuits Wilkey is facing have refused to put those on hold until after the criminal cases are decided. Wilkey’s attorney argued it would be unfair for him to have to face both, especially since testimony/evidence in the criminal cases could be used against him in the civil lawsuits. Too bad, says Judge Mattice, who is presiding over the forced baptism case:

“Defendants… downplay Plaintiff’s interest in vindicating alleged violations of the rights guaranteed to her by the United States Constitution. It is not merely ‘money’ weighed against Defendant’s unspecified rights,” Mattice wrote. “As previously noted, Defendants do not have a right to defend against civil and criminal proceedings one at a time, nor do they have a general right to avoid the evidentiary implications of responsive pleadings.”

Things may change as the criminal cases move forward, but for now, Wilkey’s fighting a battle on at least two five fronts. One lawsuit has been stayed, but only for 90 days. Wilkey might want to start exercising that speedy trial right ASAP.

As for Wilkey’s compadres — the three deputies who stood idly by while Wilkey violated rights in new and inventive ways? They’re just kind of hanging around, sucking up tax dollars. Bobby Brewer, who aided with the roadside anal search, is on clerical duty. Jacob Goforth, who hung around and watched Wilkey “baptise” an arrestee, is back on active duty. And Tyler McRae, who helped Wilkey proselytize while stripping a minor down to his boxer shorts, is still on patrol and has not been placed under investigation.

Deputy Wilkey is in a league of his own. His LAR* won’t be topped any time soon — at least not by anyone playing for farm team agencies. It will take a major league asshole to beat Wilkey’s 44 charges and five lawsuits. Given enough time, someone will be it cumulatively. But give those fuckers an asterisk. Wilkey’s dealing with this all at the same time — and he locked down these stats in a mere 10 months of work.

*Lawsuits Above Replacement

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Comments on “Tennessee Deputy Who Baptised An Arrestee And Strip Searched A Minor Now Dealing With 44 Criminal Charges And Five Lawsuits”

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79 Comments
This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
aerinai (profile) says:

How many Investigations before you are benched?

So, after… like… 5 IA investigations, no one was like, "yeah… maybe we should put him on desk duty…"?

This is a failure of the department as a whole. I really would like to see what the Sheriff says about this guy and why he was kept on the street so long.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Gutless and powerless, or corrupt

I can think of two possible explanations for why he’s still working there offhand, neither of them good.

Either the department is so beholden to the local police union that they effectively have zero ability to fire officers unless the union deigns to grant them the ability, or they fully support everything he’s doing and therefore see nothing wrong with any of it, and certainly nothing worth kicking him out over.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
That One Guy (profile) says:

No, see, that's not what that term means

All this from a deputy who’s only been with his current agency for ten (10) months. And in that short period of time, he managed to rack up eight (8) internal affairs investigations.

You’d think that after a maybe two or three(on the high end) internal investigations in less than a year the scumbag’s superiors would maybe look into firing him, but I guess they took the idea of holding police to a higher standard to mean that the number of crimes they can commit needs to be higher before they consider thinking about planning a discussion about how maybe someone like that has no business being a cop.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: No, see, that's not what that term means

This is not something Trump or any other president should get involved in. Remember Obama attacking the police doing their job on a reported home break-in? He was attacking the police doing their job in that case when they really did nothing wrong. It’s a local matter. Obama shouldn’t have gotten involved in the first place.

These things are really below what a President should be focusing on. You have your other minions involved in these things if needed. The President should be more focused on the overall country as a whole.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 No, see, that's not what that term means

"These things are really below what a President should be focusing on."…

You obviously haven’t seen how "low" the current cheeto in charge can go…

Disrespecting teens…. check
Illegal Political influence…. check
Bribing porn stars and lawyers…. check
"Fake News’ing"… check

If we weren’t living it, you would never believe it could happen (outside of some twisted Hollywood plot to take over the world… oh wait, maybe that’s what’s happening, it’s all a ‘world movie’ and we just haven’t reached the climax yet)

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 No, see, that's not what that term means

I hear what everyone is saying about The President not getting involved, but dammit he is the Commander and Chief not just for foreign wars and military affairs, but also for domestic affairs. He should set this straight to at least attempt some damage control before this country just upheaves upon itself.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 No, see, that's not what that te

I was referring to the fact that donny may be a bit preoccupied at the moment, you are aware of his continuing problems – right? Donald was the topic of the comment replied to, yeah?
So … you expect donny to give a shit about anything other than himself? You should get upset about that.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Just a few bad apples...HAH

"Those three who stood by and watched while citizens rights were being violated, and their supervisors who put them back to work are not good apples."

This is a common issue in the police. One officer does something bad and another officer is witness. What does the other officer do?

Reporting him means the reporting officer carries the stigma as a snitch forevermore – no one to partner with, no backup in dangerous confrontations, and better not leave your dinner unattended at the precinct lest someone spit in it.

Keep silent? Safer choice but now the second officer is complicit and will go down in flames alongside his rotten partner if that one ever gets caught.

Doesn’t take long for one bad apple to rot the whole precinct which at first gives leeway and then finds out they’ve become quiet accomplices to, as described in the OP, thuggery, assault and rape. Ooops.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Just a few bad apples...HAH

"The "Snitches get stitches" culture is the actual problem, SDM. Until it is addressed, the problems will continue."

Tribalism, as always, at the core of too many problems. But it’s not the sole reason for shit like this. The backing of the police unions, district attorneys, and high-ranking politicians with a hard-on for ultra-authoritarianism ensures bad behavior and coverups is usually the reaction which is less harmful to the precinct in question.

An admission there is a problem and subsequent investigation messes things up far more than outright denial, in most cases. It’s pretty telling that Wilkey had to work very hard at being a douche before his safety lines snapped.

When it comes to law enforcement gone bad what you end up in is a fortress mentality of "Us vs Them" – as amply demonstrated by the TD articles we have on Barr.

Why should the people surrounding people like wilkes change? Statistically speaking there’s less motive for them to invite the hassle of IA rather than just have a sheriff quietly bury the problems caused by a rambunctious and malicious deputy.

The problems may start at the bottom of the hierarchy but are surely nourished and defended from the top.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Thad (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Making light of prison rape serves the interests of authoritarians like Wilkey. It implies that it’s okay for criminals to have their human rights violated, and for people in power to allow it to happen.

If you think it’s okay for Wilkey’s rights to be violated because he’s a bad person — well, that’s what he was thinking every time he violated someone’s rights.

bhull242 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

In Norahc’s defense, when I think of “prison bitch”, I don’t think exclusively of victims of prison rape or those who are bottoms in a consensual (or nonconsensual) sexual relation between inmates; I also think of those who are terrorized into performing favors that aren’t sexual or are humiliated in any number of ways, not all of which are sexual in nature.

That said, I don’t really wish that on anyone, either. Sure, it’s not as bad as rape, but it’s also wrong. Besides, what I think “prison bitch” means doesn’t necessarily correlate with what the general population think it means or the actual definition. And, of course, I absolutely do not mean to minimize, support, or make fun of prison rape, which is appalling and a serious problem with our prison system.

I think Norahc was just saying that they didn’t intend to refer to prison rape but the more general terrorizing and such that happens in prisons. Though again, I don’t dispute your claim about the definition of “prison bitch”.

bhull242 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

I don’t think that that’s what they meant. There’s a lot of abuse and intimidation that goes on in prisons that don’t involve sex at all. When they said, “prison bitch”, they meant it in broader terms than “the ‘bottom’ in a sexual relationship between or among inmates which may or may not be consensual”, and even that definition doesn’t exclusively involve prison rape in any capacity. Of course, some people do use the term to refer exclusively to prison-rape victims, but that wasn’t what Norahc meant.

So yeah, being a prison bitch doesn’t necessarily require prison rape to occur at all.

By contrast, “pollution” is essentially equivalent to “impurities in our air and water”.

Wyrm (profile) says:

I remember a few jokes about "In Soviet Russia".

But nowadays, you don’t need to travel in space and time to "Soviet Russia" when you can turn some of these jokes so terrifyingly real back home in the US.

"In America, you watch Big Brother."
"In Soviet Russia, Big Brother watch you!"

"In America, you call the police."
"In Soviet Russia, the police calls you."

Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Just because someone has been emulating ostrich’s in the past and has now raised their level of awareness of the world around them does not mean they are either boomers or even old. I know a couple of dozen millennial’s who meet this criteria, but are slowly putting their iPhone’s down and looking around at reality, with some coaxing.

David says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

I know a couple of dozen millennial’s who meet this criteria, but are slowly putting their iPhone’s down and looking around at reality, with some coaxing.

Certainly you don’t need to hold your iPhone up for good reception if you can instead rely on coax. I’ve not tracked development closely, but I guess those would be older models?

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
DeComposer (profile) says:

The world would be better off without Deupty Wilkey....

" filed in 2015 alleges Wilkey fatally shot Steven Lee "Buddy" Howell while employed as a deputy with the Rhea County Sheriff’s Office. According to the federal complaint, Rhea County authorities detained Howell, who was allegedly intoxicated and belligerent at a hospital in September 2014. Concerned Howell was reaching for a deputy’s gun, authorities said a deputy, later identified as Wilkey in the lawsuit, shot Howell in the head at point-blank range."

I’m not saying it was an execution, but it’s damned difficult to imagine a scenario in which a deputy was close enough to shoot a man in the head at point-blank range but not have complete control over the situation.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Rene says:

"More unfortunately, about half of them break new ground in civil rights violation territory."

Unfortunately indeed: This is where Qualified Immunity will be thrown about like confetti on new-years. "There’s no explicit indication that you can’t baptise a person within 50 feet of a double-yellow". "No cases have ever specifically barred police from forcing a woman to shake her bra at 13:51:57 on a wednesday."

This cop might get 44 days of probation. We’ll all be told "justice was served, it would be wrong of you to try and get it any other way than through his friends", and all police will pat each-other on the back for a new level of abuse now being "department policy".

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Zof (profile) says:

If I try to get a job making sandwiches

They’ll know I drank too much at a bar twenty years ago, and the cops had to be called.

But a cop that murdered someone, shucks, they either don’t bother to check or don’t care it seems. He gets a new job easily. After killing someone.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: If I try to get a job making sandwiches

But a cop that murdered someone, shucks, they either don’t bother to check or don’t care it seems. He gets a new job easily. After killing someone.

Or worse, they see that sort of behavior and consider it a plus. ‘Now here’s someone who will do whatever it takes to get the job done, and doesn’t give a damn if he has to bruise a few feelings or bend a few laws in the process.’

Glen says:

"Despite Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Hammond having publicly commented on the matter at the beginning of the investigation into Wilkey’s alleged misconduct, stating he would "stand by his men in terms of their ability and their training," sheriff’s office spokesman Matt Lea declined to comment Monday."

https://www.timesfreepress.com/news/breakingnews/story/2019/dec/16/criminally-indicted-hamilton-county-deputy-daniel-wilkey-faces-four-more-civil-lawsuits/510751/

Amazing!!!

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Holy cow. The link inside that article also: https://www.timesfreepress.com/news/local/story/2019/oct/01/hamiltcounty-sheriffs-deputies-face-11-millil/504905/

"Another case involves now-deceased deputy Daniel Hendrix. Hendrix was accused of assaulting a Silverdale Detention Center inmate in 2015. He was arrested a month later and charged with assault. But the charges were later dismissed because the victim couldn’t be found, despite the county allegedly knowing she was being held in another jail, according to Tuesday’s lawsuit.

After the charges were dismissed, Hendrix was reinstated as a deputy. Two years later, he was shot and killed by Chattanooga police after he became violent and drew his county-issued gun while celebrating his birthday in 2017. Hendrix had violated the county’s use-of-force policy at least three times between 2015 and 2017, the Times Free Press previously reported."

Just wow.

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