LMPD :: Louisville Metro Police Department

Rev. Kevin Cosby addresses his traffic stop: 'I just want consistency'


The Rev. Kevin Cosby doesn't believe he's above the law. But he does want consistency in its enforcement.

"I am entitled, like all people in West Louisville and in urban communities, to equal protection under the law," Cosby told University of Louisville professor Ricky Jones in a recorded interview. "I just want consistency."

Cosby's remarks, a snippet of which were shared with the Courier Journal ahead of the interview airing Sunday on "The Ricky Jones Show with 12 Mr. FTC," are the prominent pastor's first on the subject of police and race since his traffic stop earlier this month.

The stop and ensuing discussions among police, Metro Council and the public have brought to the forefront a conversation about whether Louisville police are using racial profiling - which prompted a statement from Louisville police Chief Steve Conrad earlier this week defending his department's tactics.

Cosby, who is president of Simmons College of Kentucky, a historically black university, and senior pastor at St. Stephen Church, the state's largest African-American congregation, previously declined to comment to the Courier Journal about the stop and hasn't made any public comments.

But his daughter posted it on Facebook, writing that Cosby and his wife were stopped "for absolutely nothing ... but for being black in West Louisville." It has since been shared nearly 2,000 times.

The video shows the officer, who has not been named, citing two reasons for the traffic stop on Sept. 15: making an "improper turn" and having a plastic rim around his license plate.

The officer then told Cosby that his insurance and driver's license checked out and let him go with a verbal warning.

Speaking with Jones, who serves as University of Louisville's chair of Pan-African Studies, Cosby took aim at the officer who allegedly asked him, "What are y'all getting into tonight?" at the start of the stop. That comment isn't included in the video of the stop, but he and his wife mention it in the video before the officer returns to the window.

"If you're going to stop me with the question 'What are y'all getting into tonight,' then make sure it's consistent across the board - that anyone else you stop, even those who live out in suburbia, [are stopped] with the question, 'What are y'all getting into tonight?'" Cosby told Jones.

The stop is under investigation by Louisville police at the request of Conrad. The internal investigation will determine whether any departmental procedures were violated.

Prior to the announcement of the investigation, Councilman Bill Hollander called the stop an example of racial profiling and called for police to investigate. His comments rankled LMPD First Division Maj. Eric Johnson, who sent him a blistering email defending the stop and suggesting Hollander had "rushed to judgment."

Johnson went on to call the stop an example of the "exact action" he'd asked his officers to take in these neighborhoods.

Cosby touches on Johnson's comments in the portion of the interview shared with the Courier Journal.

"What Eric Johnson attempted to do was reframe it," he told Jones. "For example, he made statements like, 'Kevin Cosby is not above the law.' I didn't say that I was above the law."

In the email, obtained by the Courier Journal through an open records request, Johnson wrote that Cosby "isn't immune from traffic violations."

The full interview will air on Jones' iHeart Media show, "The Ricky Jones Show with 12 Mr. FTC" at 10 a.m. Sunday on Real 93.1 FM. The podcast can be found on iHeart Radio and Spreaker.