Good Cop Bad Cop | The Matthew Corder story
A parking spot and a curse word cost a Bullitt County man his freedom, but two years later it’s the officer who he offended that’s going to prison.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A parking spot and a curse word cost a Bullitt County man his freedom, but two years later it’s the officer who he offended that’s going to prison.
For nearly 20 years, excessive force investigations hovered over Matthew Corder like a cloud waiting to burst, but one way or another, the officer always dodged the storm.
He lost jobs but never his freedom.
All of that changes on Monday when Corder is scheduled to be sentenced in Louisville on federal civil rights violations for harming the public he swore to protect.
WDRB exclusively obtained the video evidence that led to his conviction.
The justice department used the video from the Bullitt County Deputy's own body camera to win the case.
It all started on a brisk October night in 2014.
“You’re about to get you’re ass tased,” warned Corder, as he forced his way into Deric Baize’s home.
Baize pleaded, “I am asking a question,” in the midst of a struggle.
In the end, the homeowner suffered more than the sting of a taser, he suffered the indignity of the deputy’s false arrest.
The incident started when deputy Corder blocked the driveway to Baize's home while lingering in the neighborhood after an unrelated call. Court records said Baize told the officer to “F**k off" when he wouldn’t immediately move his vehicle.
The body cam footage showed how the remark angered the deputy. He ordered Baize out of his home but Baize refused and Corder pressed his way inside.
“No, no, no, no, no,” screamed Corder to a handcuffed Baize. “F**k gets you a whole different ballgame buddy.”
“I apologize,” Baize said.
“F**k that, “ Corder said. “You get to go to jail tonight.”
The deputy charged Baize with fleeing and evading, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. Baize sat behind bars for two weeks, deemed a danger to the public. He lost his job and eventually his home.
“It's made (Baize) very reticent to interact with the public and to be out in public areas," Attorney Todd Lewis said. "A great amount of anxiety and distrust.”
After the video surfaced, Bullitt County dismissed all charges against Baize and turned the case over to FBI. While his actions may be considered rude, the deputy is the one who broke the law when he charged into Baize's home in retaliation.
“I don't need no warrant dude,” said Corder on the body camera.
WDRB found the never-before-aired video in court filings and a pattern
It’s not the first time the officer became angry about the F-word before an arrest.
In a 1998 use of force report, Corder explained how Gary Branham told him to, “Get his F***ing hands off of him,” during a toughman contest at the Louisville Gardens. Pictures from the night of the arrest show Branham with a laceration on his nose, bruising around his eyes and blood on his clothes.
WDRB found Branham living in Shepherdsville, and he said he still remembers the night well.
“(Corder) was shoving me in my back, and two other officers I didn't know ... they were they had me by the arms, Branham said. “I said, 'get your f****ing hands off of me.' That didn't sit well with him, and that's when he reached around and punched me.”
Corder was working for the old Louisville Division of Police at the time. All charges against Branham were dropped and he sued for excessive force, but he was legally drunk that night and admittedly rowdy and lost his civil case.
Corder was also involved in one of the most infamous Louisville criminal cases of the late 1990s. Adrian Reynolds mugshot and death sparked outrage and protests. Corder arrested Reynolds for domestic violence on New Years 1998. He died in jail days later after a fight with a guard, but he was already badly beaten when arrive at the jail. Corder was the arresting officer.
“His eyes were swollen shut, and the blue jacket he had on was soaked with blood,” remembers Ann Reynolds today. “She said (Adrian) was beaten so badly with a flashlight that she could barely recognize the jail pictures."
Internal affairs for the Louisville police department found, “The use of force was lawful and proper.”
The woman Reynolds was accused of attacking came with equally disturbing pictures of the night she was attacked calling the officer a hero.
After being cleared Corder explained, “It was a domestic violence situation, and she is the victim. Obviously, you've seen the photos. That's why Reynolds had to be arrested.”
Corder gained dozens of commendations in years that followed for valor, community service and good police work. However, the abuse complaints did not go away. Louisville settled a case for $15,000 after Corder was accused of pepper spraying a man in handcuffs in the backseat of a police car. There was no admission of fault.
He got off again in 2005. This time in a criminal trial for handcuffing a repo man who came to collect his car for non payment. A Public Integrity investigation revealed Corder cut a deal with the company to free the worker in exchange for the vehicle. At trial, the Corder’s defense team said the officer thought his vehicle was being stolen.
Louisville PD fired Corder after this incident, and he made his way to Bullitt County.
At trail, jurors found Corder guilty on two counts of deprivation of rights under color of law for the Bullitt County incident caught on his body camera. The maximum penalty is 11 years in federal prison.
He said he plans to appeal.
The arrests, the awards, the jobs, the missteps -- all of these chapters make up Corder's more than 20-year career. Monday will bring a new chapter, one entitled conviction.
Reynolds said it reminds her of, “That old saying that goes around comes around ... just wait, and it will happen .”
Sentencing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Monday at the federal courthouse in Louisville.
Copyright 2016 WDRB Media. All rights reserved.