According to a disturbing new lawsuit out of Tennessee, a woman named Shandle Marie Riley says a Hamilton County deputy stopped her while driving… and the end result involves one of the cops stripping down to his boxers and baptizing her.
Riley says the incident occurred in early February. She was driving at night, pulled into a gas station, filled up her car, bought some cigarettes, and left to go visit her son. When she arrived, Deputy Daniel Wilkey stopped her in the driveway and asked her to get out of the car for reasons that weren’t clear.
He searched her, touching all parts of her body, even asking her to remove her bra to shake it out. She later admitted to having a “roach” on her, which she handed over. By this time, another unnamed officer arrived.
Then things got weirder.
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.”
Riley was told to go in the house and grab some towels, and that if he could baptize her, he would only issue a criminal citation for the marijuana. (What else he might have written her up for is not clear.) Riley agreed to this deal because it meant she wouldn’t go to jail.
She followed him in her car to nearby Soddy Lake, where Deputy Jacob Goforth showed up on the scene to act as a “witness” 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.
He baptized her against her will. She said in the lawsuit she felt “horribly violated” but that she never felt “free to simply ignore” him or “not do as he commanded.” When it was all over and they were drying off, Goforth “smirked” at her.
NewsChannel 9 obtained a copy of Wilkey’s initial citation for Riley. It doesn’t mention the baptism. It does cite her for a “tinted window violation and license tag obstruction,” and includes her admission of having a joint in her possession.
Riley is now suing the two deputies and the Hamilton County Government for $1 million in compensatory damages and $10 million in punitive damages.
It should go without saying how disturbing these allegations are. What would the cops have done if she refused to be baptized? What if she wasn’t Christian? If the allegations pan out, what will the department do to punish all the deputies involved here? And why the hell was the officer touching her everywhere he did?
No one should be forced to adopt Christianity under threat of punishment. If the allegations are true, think about what that says about the faith: Some people only choose it when the other option is jail.