Kentucky deputy convicted of rights violations

A former deputy with the Bullitt County, Kentucky, Sheriff’s Office was convicted this week by a federal jury of two counts of willfully depriving a Bullitt County resident of his constitutional rights under color of law.

The evidence presented at trial established that Matthew Corder, of Louisville, Kentucky, abused his authority as a sworn law enforcement officer by retaliating against a Bullitt County resident who insulted him.

Corder unlawfully entered the man’s home, tased the man in the back, arrested him without probable cause and charged him with crimes that he did not commit.

The charges against the man — disorderly conduct and fleeing and evading — eventually were dismissed. However, the man sat in jail for works and lost his job.

“This deputy abused his authority, neglected the law and harmed a resident he swore an oath to protect,” said Vanita Gupta, principal deputy assistant attorney general. “No insult justifies depriving the victim of his constitutional rights and anytime law enforcement officers act like Corder did here, they do a disservice to the vast majority of their colleagues who safeguard our communities with fidelity, professionalism and distinction.  The Justice Department will work tirelessly to bring to justice any member of law enforcement who breaks the law by using excessive force.”

U.S. Attorney John E. Kuhn Jr. of the Western District of Kentucky said in a statement to the press, “In those rare instances when a police officer violates his foremost duty to obey the law and adhere to the limits imposed by our Constitution, the Department of Justice will vigorously work to hold that officer accountable. Today our efforts culminated in a unanimous jury verdict finding that former Deputy Sheriff Corder victimized an individual by making an unconstitutional arrest and bringing unconstitutional charges.

The four-day trial included testimony from the victim, the victim’s sister and an officer on scene, which corroborated the victim’s account.

The instructors from the police academy who trained Corder also testified, saying he knew what the law permits and knew that his conduct violated the victim’s constitutional rights.

Evidence included Corder’s false arrest report as well as body-camera footage of the arrest.

Corder faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison on the first charge and one year of imprisonment on the second charge.

His sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 17, before U.S. District Judge David J. Hale of the Western District of Kentucky.

This case was investigated by the FBI’s Louisville Division and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Amanda Gregory of the Western District of Kentucky and trial attorney Christopher Perras of the Civil Rights Division’s Criminal Section.