Reading like an impossible fiction novel, a recent article about Hamilton County (TN) Deputy Daniel Wilkey will make many worry that the man is in need of some help or counseling. Why? Well, a list of his activities in the field, and the lawsuits that resulted from them is, at the very least, interesting.
In fact, he is so spectacularly busy that he was sued twice in a day by two different plaintiffs. In one lawsuit, the plaintiff explained that the Sheriff had claimed to have the ability to detect the smell of marijuana inside a vehicle that passed his cruiser while at a busy intersection. The vehicle’s window tinting was also used as a reason to make the stop. This, in turn, led to a body cavity search of the passenger in the vehicle, which then led to a rectal injury.
Wow, right? He kept going.
Next, and on the same day, the Deputy (the lawsuit alleges) conducted a search of a woman’s vehicle, as well as her bra. He then explained he would issue a lighter punishment if she would allow him to baptize her in a nearby lake. Deputy Jacob Goforth, who was accompanying Wilkey that day, witnessed the ritual and did nothing to halt this forced baptism.
And yet, this is not where the allegations end. He has two additional lawsuits that itemize equally shocking behaviors. In one, a man claims that the Deputy pulled him over in a traditional traffic stop which then escalated to physical aggression over the window tinting on the vehicle. This led the Deputy to conduct an illegal search of the vehicle, allegedly, and then bringing a drug dog to the scene.
The plaintiff’s vehicle was deemed free of drugs, but throughout the entire process, the man was forced to hold his bare hands on the hood of the vehicle. As it was a sweltering summer day, the man had tremendous pain and burns that required medical attention.
In the next lawsuit, the Deputy is being accused of the harassment of six minors. Again, it began with a routine traffic stop and the accusation of overly dark window tinting. Again, Deputy Goforth was with his partner that day, but today there was no baptism.
Instead, all six youths were ordered out of their car. They were then, allegedly, forced to put their cell phones inside of their vehicle. Then, as the lawsuit explains, “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,” disappointments and like their parents (whom the Deputy described with an expletive).
This was not the end of it, and allegedly the Deputy targeted one of the youths (a male), telling him to strip to his underwear and then to remove his underwear. The boy refused, and so the Deputy did a search of the five other passengers (all female). The girls have claimed that the Deputy “searched” them, giving excessive amounts of time to touching and rubbing their bodies and even removing one girl’s bra.
It was a two-hour ordeal according to the minors, and throughout, the Deputy supposedly uttered both curses and prayers.
With so many lawsuits against him, and all citing bizarre behaviors, it would seem obvious that the Sheriff’s Office would investigate him or even discipline him. Unfortunately, it has not. It is unlikely that any modern law office would be able to maintain such a reign of terror. Let’s hope these lawsuits do what his employer cannot – get him off the streets.