LOUISVILLE, Ky. – A former deputy with the Bullitt County, Kentucky, Sheriff’s Office was sentenced today to 27 months in federal prison and one year of supervised release, by United States District Judge David J. Hale, for willfully depriving a county resident of his constitutional rights, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, and United States Attorney John E. Kuhn Jr. of the Western District of Kentucky. There is no parole in the federal prison system.
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 went after the man, unlawfully entered the man’s home, tased him in the back, arrested him without probable cause and charged him with crimes that he did not commit, causing the man sit in jail for weeks and to lose his job. The charges that Corder falsely levied against the victim – disorderly conduct, fleeing and evading and resisting arrest –were eventually dismissed.
“As they serve and protect, police are entrusted with immense power and authority,” stated U.S. Attorney John Kuhn, “and it is absolutely critical that their power and authority be used lawfully and responsibly. Matthew Corder abused that authority, and today he is held to account. His actions are not representative of the good and honorable work that distinguishes our law enforcement agencies in the Western District of Kentucky.”
“By violating the law and abusing the public’s trust, Corder undermined the integrity of the justice system in Bullitt County,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Gupta. “Every day, the vast majority of law enforcement officials work tirelessly and honorably to keep communities safe yet those who flout the law do a disservice to their colleagues and their profession. The Justice Department will continue its steadfast efforts to ensure that when officers violate civil rights, we hold them accountable for their misconduct.”
Corder was convicted of two counts of willfully depriving a Bullitt County man of his constitutional rights under color of law, by a federal jury, in Louisville, on July 22, 2016. The four-day trial included testimony from the victim, the victim’s sister and the other officer on scene, which corroborated the victim’s account. The instructors from the police academy who trained Corder also testified to the fact that 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 was further ordered by the court to pay restitution to the victim in an amount to be determined within 90 days.
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 J. Perras of the Civil Rights Division’s Criminal Section.