Chattanooga Clergy For Justice response to charges dropped against Daniel Wilkey
Group has frequently demonstrated against the Sheriff's Office
CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – A group that has often been critical of the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office issues their reaction to charges being dropped against a former deputy.
A special prosecutor announced two weeks ago that they would drop all 44 charges against Daniel Wilkey.
The former deputy was indicted on a variety of charges that includes sexual assault and reckless conduct including a “cavity search” of one suspect and the baptism of a woman he stopped on drug charges.
But that was under the last District Attorney.
The Special Prosecutor said when the new D.A. took over, they couldn’t find the evidence in the case files.
Wilkey’s attorney said the charges should never have been filed in the first place.
The group, Chattanooga Clergy for Justice, has been a frequent critic of the Sheriff’s Office.
They released this reaction to the Wilkey ruling today:
The recent dismissal of the 44-count indictment against former Hamilton County Sheriff Deputy
Daniel Wilkey has deepened community concern for the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office
(HCSO) specifically and the justice system in general. Claims such as “too often in cases like
these … the broad brush of accusation is quickly, unfairly, and inaccurately applied”1 or that the
community should let the judicial process work and Wilkey should be presumed innocent until
proven guilty assumes an investigation of integrity. But how can a community trust a judicial
system when the proof or evidence that could have proven Wilkey guilty mysteriously
In March of 2022, former Hamilton County Attorney Neal Pinkston warned some cases against
the HCSO could be dismissed after 15 months of video evidence, including dash cam evidence
that would have been used against Wilkey, from the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office was lost
during a server crash in February 2020. In July 2020, former Hamilton County Sheriff Jim
Hammond issued a seven-page explanation of the server crash and loss of 15 months of video
footage and blamed two separate vendors for the crash. Vendors did not corroborate that story.
One of the companies, VMware, responded that the data loss was not the result of a product
defect by their company. The other company declined to comment. Sheriff Hammond’s son was
in charge of the HCSO IT Department.
In April 2022, the victim baptized by Wilkey, and a key witness to the case, died, and her death
was ruled an accidental overdose by the medical examiner.
It is deeply concerning to us and the community that evidence used to prosecute the Wilkey case
and other cases ended up missing, and the victim in the case ended up dead. The justice system
requires evidence and witnesses to prosecute cases. The former DA had the benefit of neither.
What is more concerning is there was no independent investigation into the missing video
footage or the mysterious death of the victim. Both of these investigations were conducted by
the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office and are a clear violation of ethics.
The prophet Micah stood in the presence of corruption in the city and proclaimed, “Do Justice”!
We stand in the tradition of Micah and declare potential corrupt behavior against the Hamilton
County Sheriff’s Office. Charges against Daniel Wilkey may have been dropped, but justice was
Chattanooga Clergy for Justice