Though it’s a little more than a five-hour drive from Memphis to Hamilton County, Tennessee, we some of the same problems with rogue cops more likely to bend or break the law than they are to prevent crime.
We read recently of Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Daniel Wilkey who was indicted on 44 criminal charges a few days ago. Twenty-five of the charges are felonies that include rape, sexual battery and others.
All of the alleged crimes pertain “to incidents he was involved in while on duty in an official capacity,” the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office said in a press statement. The 26-year-old is accused of misconduct in uniform that includes illegal searches for drugs, a forced baptism and a roadside body cavity search. He’s also accused of groping female minors during a traffic stop.
The long list of alleged crimes includes two counts of rape, six counts of sexual battery, stalking, assault, official oppression and more.
This past July, the Hamilton County District Attorney released dash-cam video showing Wilkey and another deputy kicking and punching a handcuffed man before stripping his pants off and performing a body cavity search on the side of a road.
A woman says Wilkey pulled her over in February of this year, searched her, falsely claimed she was in possession of meth and then offered her a choice between going to jail or receiving a baptism by him in a nearby lake.
A short while later, the deputy ordered her into the cold water and then allegedly put one of his hands on her back and the other on her breasts and pushed her under the water.
Clearly, the deputy’s career and freedom are on the line. Like all others accused of serious crimes, he should decline to speak to prosecutors and investigators until he has talked over the evidence, charges and his legal options with a criminal defense attorney.