Tennessee Deputy Sued Twice In The Same Day Over A Roadside Anal Search And A Forced Baptism

from the yeah-I've-never-seen-those-words-lined-up-like-that-before-either dept

You've got to be a special kind of law enforcement officer to have two lawsuits filed against you in the same day. Hamilton County Deputy Daniel Wilkey is that kind of special. The Tennessee law enforcement officer managed to violate rights against enough people that two of them retained lawyers. This suggests Deputy Wilkey violates rights on a regular basis, but maybe not egregiously enough to merit a lawsuit in every case.

Both cases here are disturbing. And they're disturbing in very different ways. I've never read a civil rights lawsuit against an officer that included claims of a forcible religious experience, but here we are. (h/t Peter Bonilla)

The first lawsuit [PDF], filed by Shandle Riley, alleges that Deputy Wilkey followed her to a friend's house from a nearby gas station. Once he had (sort of) pulled her over, things got weird quick.

First, Deputy Wilkey claimed Riley was holding meth. To prove this, he engaged in a full body patdown. Then he ordered her to take off her bra and "shake her bra and shirt" to prove she hadn't stashed any meth there. Riley asked for a female officer to be present during this "search" but the deputy told her the law doesn't require female cops to search female citizens.

He then asked if she had anything illegal in her car. She said she had a marijuana roach stashed in a pack of cigarettes. At that point, Deputy Wilkey became verbally abusive. Then he decided to strike a deal with the alleged criminal. We'll go to the lawsuit for that because… well, it offers the driest recounting of a positively insane situation.

Wilkey then approached Plaintiff and asked her if she was "saved" and believed in Jesus Christ.

Plaintiff stated that she believed in Jesus Christ, but that she was not "saved" by her own choice.

Wilkey then told Plaintiff that God was talking to him during the vehicle search, and Wilkey felt the Lord wanted him to baptize the Plaintiff.

Wilkey further told Plaintiff that he felt "the spirit."

Um. Do what now?

These are words coming from the mouth of a sworn peace officer. And that's not the end of it. The option given to Riley was to participate in this highly-unconventional baptism presided over by an officer of the law or get thrown into the gaping maw of the criminal justice system with as much force as Deputy Wilkey could muster. If Riley agreed to a baptism, Wilkey said he would only cite her for marijuana possession and speak to the judge on her behalf. Riley complied with Wilkey's demands, which included grabbing towels from her friends house and following Wilkey's cruiser out to a nearby lake.

At the lake, Riley and Wilkey were joined by Deputy Jacob Goforth, who did nothing as Wilkey proceeded with the "baptism."

Wilkey told Plaintiff that Goforth was present because, in order for a baptism to be valid, a witness must "attest" to the ritual.

Wilkey then stripped nearly naked, with only his boxer shorts on.

Wilkey then gave Plaintiff the option to strip too, but Plaintiff declined.

Wilkey then lead Plaintiff into the near waist deep and frigid water, placed one hand on Plaintiff's back, and his other hand on Plaintiff's breasts, and completely submerged Plaintiff under the water.

Wilkey held Plaintiff under water for several moments, then with his hands still positioned on her back and breasts, raised Plaintiff from the cold water.

Plaintiff was shivering uncontrollably, and felt horribly violated.

Unfortunately for Riley, I doubt there's a case on point that will easily eliminate Wilkey's qualified immunity defense. But hopefully, the court will recognize this is batshit insane enough it doesn't need to find a case on point to find Wilkey violated her rights. To top it all off, Riley held up her end of the under-the-color-of-law bargain. Deputy Wilkey did not.

At no time did Wilkey ever [go to] court on Plaintiff's behalf and speak to the judge.

If that was the only thing Wilkey was being sued about, it would be enough to question his fitness for duty. But as you already know, this isn't the end of the accusations against the deputy.

The second lawsuit, filed in the same court on the same day, alleges Deputy Wilkey engaged in a suspicionless stop that turned into an impromptu roadside anal cavity search and the beating of a handcuffed man. And oh my god does it start with one of the dumbest things an officer has ever said to defend a pretextual stop. From the lawsuit [PDF]:

Wilkey followed Plaintiffs, and conducted a traffic stop of the Plaintiffs on the false claims of "window tint violation" and that he could smell the odor of marijuana as Wilkey followed the plaintiffs.

This assertion of Wilkey's exceptional olfactory senses is followed by a parade of brutalities inflicted on the passenger of the pulled-over vehicle at the hands of the deputy. Fortunately for the plaintiffs, this whole interaction was recorded.

Here's the lawsuit's description of those events:

Wilkey handcuffed James, and the individual Defendants took James to the front of one of their police vehicles.

Wilkey then began to grab James' genitals. When James told Wilkey that James had an untreated and large hernia and that Wilkey's actions were causing James pain, Brewer and Wilkey jerked James' arms high above his back, and slammed James face-down onto the hot engine hood, causing injury to James.

Wilkey and Brewer then beat James with fists, knees, and feet, slammed James to the ground, and continued their brutalization of James.

Wilkey and Brewer then removed James' pants and shoes, while still beating James.

Wilkey and Brewer then forced James' face back onto the hot hood of the same police vehicle and continued to jerk his arms high above his back, and beat James.

While Brewer continued to force James' face back onto the hot hood of the same police vehicle and jerk his arms high above his back Wilkey donned a set of gloves, pulled down James' underwear, and conducted an anal cavity search of James.

The lawsuit goes on to note that James suffered numerous injuries including "tearing of his anus" and an aggravation of his existing hernia. The charges brought against James (the deputies discovered drugs in his underwear) were all dropped after the dashcam video was made public.

Deputy Wilkey has been suspended, but it's the nice kind that means he'll be paid to do nothing while the Sheriff's Office decides what to do with him. It would seem obvious he's too expensive to keep around.

Filed Under: daniel wilkey, hamilton county, tennessee


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  • icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 16 Oct 2019 @ 12:36pm

    It would seem obvious he's too expensive to keep around.

    I’m sure the police union of which Wilkey is a part believes otherwise.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    David, 16 Oct 2019 @ 12:41pm

    Perfectly plausible.

    Wilkey followed Plaintiffs, and conducted a traffic stop of the Plaintiffs on the false claims of "window tint violation" and that he could smell the odor of marijuana as Wilkey followed the plaintiffs.

    Well, Wilkey confiscated marijuana earlier that day. And his behavior does not exactly suggest that he is opposed to ingesting whatever drugs he can grab a hold of. So I have little doubt that he could smell the odor of marijuana as Wilkey followed the plaintiffs. "as Wilkey followed the plaintiffs" is not a description of cause, just of time.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Oct 2019 @ 12:46pm

    Just as it was pointed out, Deputy Daniel Wilkey is batshit insane

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 16 Oct 2019 @ 2:24pm

      Re:

      Possible, but I'd put higher odds on corruption than insanity.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        David, 16 Oct 2019 @ 3:53pm

        Re: Re:

        Possible, but I'd put higher odds on corruption than insanity.

        Well, that's a reasonable bet for a priori probabilities. But the conditional probability given the facts significantly shifts the balance to batshit insane.

        Bayes and all that.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Oct 2019 @ 12:47pm

    That is rape

    Tearing of the anus in an undeclared anal cavity search is rape. I really hope this officer is charged and removed from the force. All previous interactions involving this officer are now suspect meaning thousand of people may have to be released from prison.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Tin-Foil-Hat, 16 Oct 2019 @ 12:57pm

    Saved from what?

    Almost of the "saved" people I know spend a lot of time and effort helping other people. The ones that engaged in brutality because god or Jesus directed them to do so were unmedicated paranoid schizophrenics.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Oct 2019 @ 1:09pm

      Re: Saved from what?

      Judging by his actions in the other suit, it would seem that by being saved Riley avoided having the deputy cavity search her on the roadside.

      The Tennesee version of the Miranda warning, "You have the right to be saved by a random deputy. If you give up that right, your savior will tear your anus to show you the err of your ways. If you can not afford a baptism, one will be provided for you at the nearest water filled ditch."

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 18 Oct 2019 @ 5:49am

      Re: Saved from what?

      Actual salvation involves genuine faith; it can't be bullied into people.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Oct 2019 @ 1:04pm

    Why is this cop not being tried on criminal charges?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 16 Oct 2019 @ 2:16pm

    Oh he is so getting a stern finger wag

    Let's see, blatant violation of the first amendment paired with sexual assault, followed by more sexual assault... yeah, I figure that will get him maybe a week of paid leave and a finger shaken once, maybe twice, which I'm sure will be considered plenty of punishment.

    Unfortunately for Riley, I doubt there's a case on point that will easily eliminate Wilkey's qualified immunity defense.

    Indeed, I mean it's not like there's a constitutional amendment or anything that might cover what government agents can and can not do when it comes to religion...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Pixelation, 16 Oct 2019 @ 2:36pm

    Time for...

    The "Me Too Blue" movement...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Oct 2019 @ 4:17pm

    So did Deputy Dumbass make a finger gun when performing the anal search, escalating the whole thing to a deadly force encounter?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    norahc (profile), 16 Oct 2019 @ 5:08pm

    James suffered numerous injuries including "tearing of his anus"

    Note to self, when a deputy threatens to tear you a new one, he REALLY means it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Glenn, 16 Oct 2019 @ 6:18pm

    No, the correct dept is: cops-who-belong-in-jail-while-waiting-for-space-to-open-up-in-the-cops-only-wing-of-the-local-mental -institution

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Oct 2019 @ 7:41pm

    Shouldn't this article appear in "Ripley's Believe It or Not"????

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    bob, 16 Oct 2019 @ 10:14pm

    what did courts expect

    When the bar for qualified immunity requires the police to do something no one else has done, cops are only going to keep trying to outdo one another for most outlandish violation of a person's rights.

    Didn't anyone tell them there isn't a trophy for most rights violated?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    joelbradshaw (profile), 17 Oct 2019 @ 4:06am

    The only way to make this worse...

    is to combine the cases into "anal baptism"...

    This man is crazy. He may or may not be Christian. He may or may not have substance issues. He IS a rapist. He HAS abused his authority. He needs treatment, but he also deserves prison time after his treatment.

    Good Lord. (said not ironically, while shaking my head)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      David, 17 Oct 2019 @ 7:18am

      Re: The only way to make this worse...

      This man is crazy. He may or may not be Christian.

      To me he sounds like a Christian in the same sense others declare themselves to be communists.

      Makes you want to pick them up, shake them and shout at them "have you even read the book?". Of course, there are actually a whole lot of books, most of them an enfuriating absurdity. But I mean the respective primary reference.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    nasch (profile), 17 Oct 2019 @ 6:21am

    Jesus

    Wilkey then began to grab James' genitals. When James told Wilkey that James had an untreated and large hernia and that Wilkey's actions were causing James pain, Brewer and Wilkey jerked James' arms high above his back, and slammed James face-down onto the hot engine hood, causing injury to James.

    You know, like Jesus would do.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Oct 2019 @ 7:42am

    Best headline that I've read in months...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Tanner Andrews (profile), 18 Oct 2019 @ 4:51am

    Clarification Ought to be Supplied. and Passive Voice Avoided

    Yes,both suits may have been filed on 31-Sep-2019 (!), but that is simply the filing date. It is probably less surprising when you observe that they are filed by the same atty, who probably used some of the same preparation for both.

    Certainly it would have been reasonable to use much of the work for both suits, since the background investigation would be of the same officer and same sheriff's dept in both.

    The events occurred months apart. Riley, 06-Feb-2019. Mitchell, 10-Jul-2010.

    So it was not a cop having a particularly ambitious and productive day. Is is just bad cops in what appears to be a bad department.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 18 Oct 2019 @ 5:45am

    Violations

    Deputy Wilkey has been suspended, but it's the nice kind that means he'll be paid to do nothing while the Sheriff's Office decides what to do with him.

    Fire him, obviously. It's his job to enforce the law, not to violate the First Amendment and that poor unfortunate's civil rights as well as her dignity.

    As for the anal search, what the hell?

    America needs to sort out its demented Puritan problem, NOW.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Kedo333, 20 Oct 2019 @ 4:13pm

    Wilkeys a punk!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Zeke, 20 Oct 2019 @ 6:35pm

    Who hires these dumb fucks

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Oct 2019 @ 7:37pm

    Fuck 12

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Onewayride, 21 Oct 2019 @ 7:41pm

    Fuck 12, nothing but a bunch of bitches! How long are we gonna take this shit?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Tanner Andrews (profile), 27 Oct 2019 @ 1:38pm

    death and taxes (but experts are working on death)

    Who hires these dumb fucks

    The taxpayers of Hamilton County, TN[*], are the generous people helping to feed and house these otherwise unemployables.

    By doing so, they reduce the homeless population and prevent hunger. This is an example of charity, and a tax deduction is available for the property taxes which act as the funding mechanism.

    [*] Chattanooga

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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