LMPD officers exonerated from racial profiling in traffic stop cell phone video

Two LMPD officers cleared of racial profiling accusations after traffic stop

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Two officers are cleared of accusations involving racial profiling months after a traffic stop in West Louisville, Wave 3 News has learned.

Dr. Kevin Cosby, the President of Simmons College, was stopped in September 2018. Cosby’s daughter later posted cell phone video of the traffic stop on social media, claiming they were racially profiled.

“The incident that occurred Saturday night to my parents was quite unfortunate,” Christine Cosby Gaither, Cosby’s daughter, said in September during a press conference.

The video showed an officer conducting a traffic stop and Dr. Cosby asking why he’d been stopped. He and his wife were stopped at the intersection of 22nd and Muhammad Ali Blvd. on September 15.

“Why were we stopped?” Cosby asked 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.

LMPD Chief Steve Conrad directed the department's Professional Standards Unit to open an investigation three days after the stop.

The officers involved were Patrick Norton and John Sholar.

Dr. Kevin Cosby was stopped in West Louisville in September.
Dr. Kevin Cosby was stopped in West Louisville in September. (Source: Kevin Cosby)

On February 21, Conrad wrote letters to both officers telling them the PSU investigation was completed.

The investigation involving Norton found that the claim of “Biased Law Enforcement Practices” was unfounded. The officer was also exonerated against claims he did not take “appropriate action” during the stop.

The investigation did find the officer's camera was not in proper placing, meaning it was pointed upward and in a diagonal direction. It also sustained a violation of Strategies and Tactics of Patrol stops, claiming the officer failed to identify himself to those being stopped and did not explain the reason for the stop until he was asked.

He directed Major McClinton to counsel the officer about the two violations.

The only violation against Sholar was that he failed to turn on his body camera during the stop. Conrad suspended the officer for eight hours.

WAVE 3 News also obtained a letter to Cosby from Conrad telling him of the investigation he initiated and the claims that were unfounded and those sustained.

Conrad states the officers had a legal basis for the traffic stop and told Cosby the reason for the stop and the issuance of a verbal warning appeared legitimate.

Conrad also writes that the officer most likely did not know the race of those inside the vehicle when he conducted the stop.

"You said you believed you were profiled due to your vehicle, but when Officer Norton first saw your vehicle, he thought it was a Dodge Challenger after seeing the illegal turn. It was determined Officer Norton had to travel for approximately 14 seconds at speeds up to 58 mph to close the distance between his vehicle and your vehicle," he said. "Given Officer Norton was unable to accurately determine the make and model of the vehicle, it appears unlikely he was able to determine the race of the vehicle's occupants prior to making the stop. Based on this factual information, I believe the stop was not based on your race or your socio-economic status."

The information about the investigations being closed was obtained through an Open Records Request.

We reached out to LMPD for comment and an interview. They told us they were not commenting and were letting the letter to Cosby speak for itself.

We have reached out to Cosby and are awaiting a response.

WAVE 3 News has also requested the dashcam and body camera video from the incident. LMPD said the video won’t be ready for at least 90 days as it undergoes the redaction process.

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