Not Immune: Sheriff’s Captain Convicted of Civil Rights Violation

Originally published on January 31, 2015, at NationofChange.org

A former captain with the Gadsden County Sheriff’s Office has been convicted on charges of violating the civil rights of an arrestee, obstruction of justice, and making false statements in a federal investigation. Abusing his power and authority, Captain James “Jim” Corder stole $1,785 from a handcuffed suspect during an arrest and failed to log the money into evidence. Although witnesses saw Capt. Corder steal the cash, Corder later lied to the FBI and Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) agents investigating the theft.

In July 2013, William “Billy” Easterwood and his wife Amy were arrested on suspected burglary charges. As Capt. Corder placed Billy Easterwood in the back of a sheriff’s car, Billy asked his mother to take the money from his pocket. A day before the Easterwoods’ arrest, the couple had sold their dog and their camper for $1,785 in cash.

With his hands cuffed behind his back, Billy could not physically give the money to his mother. According to Billy’s mother, Corder took the cash from Billy’s pocket claiming it was for restitution. Instead of logging the $1,785 into evidence, Corder kept the money and refused to return it to Billy.

Depicting Corder as a crooked cop who routinely took liberty with arrestees’ property, Assistant U.S. Attorney Karen Rhew-Miller told jurors, “When Jim Corder gets a hold of a prisoner’s property, he does whatever he wants with it.”

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