By Dawn Onley, The Grio
A Tennessee police officer allegedly beat a Black man and subjected him to a full-body cavity search on the side of the road earlier this year after he accused him of driving with tinted windows, officials say. He has now been indicted on rape, sexual battery, false imprisonment, obstruction, and many other charges – totaling 44 criminal counts.
Hamilton County Sheriff’s Deputy Daniel Wilkey, 26, who has been out on paid administrative leave since the July 10 incident, was officially arrested on Tuesday on numerous charges against James Mitchell and several other people, according to VICE.
According to a civil lawsuit Mitchell filed against Wilkey, Hamilton County, and Deputy Bobby Brewer. Wilkey pulled Mitchell over for tinted windows and because he smelled of marijuana. He forced Mitchell and his girlfriend to exit the vehicle and then shortly after, Wilkey handcuffed Mitchell and began to search him.
Mitchell told Wilkey that he had a large hernia that was untreated and said he was in pain, which allegedly caused Wilkey and Brewer to beat Mitchell with “fists, knees, and feet,” according to the civil suit.
Mitchell goes on to detail how Wilkey removed his pants, bent him over the hood of his car and “conducted an anal cavity search” on the side of the road, without his consent, according to VICE. Mitchell’s girlfriend was forced to watch, according to the suit, and was afraid that they would kill Mitchell.
Wilkey and Brewer booked Mitchell on resisting arrest and other charges, which were later dismissed. Mitchell underwent surgery at a local hospital for the irritated hernia and he was also treated for tears in his anus.
The incident, which sparked community protest, was caught on Wilkey’s dash-camera. It was referred to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation for further investigation, according to the Chattanooga Times Free Press. The bureau’s findings were sent to the Hamilton County District Attorney General, which brought about Tuesday’s indictment, the Free Press reported.
Mitchell was not Wilkey’s only alleged victim. Robin Flores, a civil rights lawyer and also a former police officer, is representing numerous victims — some of whom are minors — who have filed four separate civil lawsuits this year against Wilkey.
Shandle Riley, another alleged victim, claims Wilkey did an invasive body search on her over suspicion that she had methamphetamines in the car.
Wilkey was criminally indicted for extortion and false imprisonment for the February incident involving Riley.
Riley, who has also filed a civil lawsuit against Wilkey, his partner, deputy Jacob Goforth and Hamilton County, said she was stopped by Wilkey while pulling into her child’s driveway. She said Wilkey made her get out of her car and undergo a body search.
In her lawsuit, Riley says Wilkey asked her if she had any drugs in the car and she said she told him she had a “roach” in her cigarette pack, but nothing else.
She said Wilkey called her a “piece of sh*t,” before asking her whether she was “saved” by Jesus Christ. In her lawsuit, she said Wilkey told her he felt “the spirit” telling him to baptize her, and allegedly told her he would only give her a criminal citation for the weed if she let him.
They then drove to a nearby lake, where Wilkey stripped down to his underwear and performed a makeshift baptism. According to court documents, Riley, who felt she could not refuse, was “shivering uncontrollably and felt horribly violated.” Goforth was reported not to have participated in the incident, but neither did he intervene.
This article originally appeared in The Grio.