LMPD chief opens investigation into traffic stop of Simmons College president

LMPD chief opens investigation into traffic stop of Simmons College president
Reverend Kevin Cosby is the president of Simmons College in Louisville. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - One traffic stop, one video and one college president have set off a racially charged Facebook firestorm.

Simmons College President, Reverend Kevin Cosby, and his wife were pulled over in their Audi by a Louisville Metro Police officer at 22nd Street and Muhammad Ali Blvd. over the weekend.

President of Simmons College records traffic stop; LMPD chief opens investigation

“Why were we stopped?” Cosby asks in the cell phone video.

“Two reasons -- one, you made an invalid turn, back there when you turned on 22nd, I’m not exactly sure which street it was off of, you made an improper turn there and also sir, the plastic rim on your license plate is illegal,” the officer said. “You’re not allowed to have that on there.”

The officer asked for both Cosby’s and his wife’s licenses.

He then said, “we’re all good,” and let them off with a warning.

“Have a good night,” the officer said before walking away.

That video prompted Cosby’s daughter to say he was racially profiled on social media.

“Black folk who get stopped for regular traffic violations end up in jail more than anybody else -- but it doesn’t mean we’re breaking the law more than anybody else,” David Snardon of the Ministerial Coalition said.

LMPD Police Chief Steve Conrad opened an internal investigation. Mayor Greg Fischer applauded the move, saying racial profiling is unacceptable.

But any videos of what happened before Cosby’s cell phone video, or police dash cam video of whether Cosby did in fact violate traffic laws, have not been released.

“The incident that occurred Saturday night to my parents was quite unfortunate,” Christine Cosby Gaither, Cosby’s daughter said.

Others took the opportunity to speak about the broader issue of racial profiling, but some also said in this case they didn’t want anyone to get in trouble over the video.

“We don’t want to see those police officers harmed, we don’t want to see them chastised," Snardon said. "We want to see them trained correctly.”

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