A woman who was reportedly assaulted and baptized against her consent by a Hamilton County deputy while he was performing a 2019 traffic stop last week was reportedly found dead by local authorities late last week.
The news was first reported by the Chattanooga Times Free Press team in Tennessee.
Woman Assaulted, Baptized Against Her Will By Cop Found Dead, Investigation Ongoing
According to the outlet, Soddy-Daisy resident Shandle Marie Riley, 42, was assaulted and baptized without her consent at a 2019 traffic stop. On April 13, she was found dead by authorities. However, the cause of her death has yet to be disclosed.
A public information officer for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Susan Ninland, said that “TBI special agents are working a death investigation in Soddy-Daisy after Hamilton County deputies initially responding to a call [Wednesday night] requested to recuse their agency from the investigation.”
The email continues to say, “District Attorney General Neal Pinkston requested TBI agents investigate the death of Shandle Marie Riley, who was found deceased at a residence on Log Cabin Road. The Hamilton County Medical Examiner’s Office will conduct an autopsy to determine the cause and manner of death. The investigation remains active and ongoing at this time.”
The Times Free Press called the Hamilton County Medical Examiner’s Office, but it was reportedly too early for them to determine a cause of death for the 42-year-old female.
Woman Found Dead After Suing Cop Who Assaulted, Baptized Her Against Her Will
Last week, a federal judge said qualified immunity did not bar Shandele Marie Riley from bringing a civil lawsuit against a Tennessee sheriff’s deputy who sexually assaulted and *forcibly baptized* her after a routine traffic stop in 2019.
Now, Ms. Riley has been found dead. pic.twitter.com/0SiNCs9qUW
— Rebecca Kavanagh (@DrRJKavanagh) April 16, 2022
Only April 8, only a few days before her death, a U.S. District Court judge had ruled that a lawsuit against former deputy Daniel Wilkey could proceed.
Judge Travis R. McDonough said that the baptism that Wilkey performed on Riley violated her choice of religion and the state’s duty to respect a person’s right to choose.
The ruling said, “If citizens are subjected to state-sponsored religious exercises, the State disavows its own duty to guard and respect that sphere of inviolable conscience and belief which is the mark of a free people.”
“Baptism of detainees by law-enforcement officers runs directly counter to the government’s substantial interest in guaranteeing the free exercise of religion without government intervention,” the ruling continued. “Any seizure for the purpose of conducting a baptism intruded upon [the woman’s] liberty without furthering any government interest and was therefore unreasonable.”
Woman’s Unwanted Baptism Was Reportedly Captured On Video By Another Cop
Soddy-Daisy resident Shandle Marie Riley, the woman who was reportedly baptized against her will by a Hamilton County deputy during a 2019 traffic stop, was found dead by local authorities Wednesday night.https://t.co/Vhh0IOEx87
— Times Free Press (@TimesFreePress) April 14, 2022
According to court documents, Wilkey pulled Riley over for a traffic stop on February 6, 2019. The incident occurred just after 9 PM, as Riley was driving through the Soddy-Daisy area.
According to the court documents, “Riley confessed to having a marijuana roach in her cigarette pack.”
The documents state that Wilkey searched Riley twice. The second time, he assaulted her and “inappropriately touched her crotch,” as stated in the court documents.
Wilkey then reportedly told Riley that “God [was] talking to him and assured [Riley] if she got baptized, [Wilkey] would only write her a citation and she would be free to go about her business.”
The baptism reportedly took place in Soddy Lake and was recorded by another deputy, Jacob Goforth, on his cellphone. Although Judge McDonough ruled that the complaint against former deputy Goforth could not go through, the judge ruled that Goforth failed to protect Riley from Wilkey’s use of excessive force.
This is not the only lawsuit that Wilkey is facing. He has also been slapped with several other multimillion-dollar lawsuits for other use of excessive force incidents. One lawsuit alleges the unlawful body cavity search of a man at a traffic stop. Another lawsuit alleges that Wilkey groped female minors. The cumulative total of the lawsuits that Wilkey is facing is around $11 million dollars.