A Louisville Police Department commander unapologetically defended a white officer accused of racially profiling an HBCU president, as he vowed to continue aggressively policing the Black community.
First Division Maj. Eric Johnson made it clear that the Rev. Kevin Cosby, president of Simmons College of Kentucky, “isn’t immune from traffic violations” in a sharply worded email to a local lawmaker who alleged racial profiling, the Courier Journal reported on Tuesday.
“The stop of Rev. Cosby is an example of the exact action I’ve asked my officers to take in these neighborhoods. …While being stopped by the police may not be a pleasant experience and may cause some people anxiety, it doesn’t mean the police were wrong,” Johnson, who’s white, stated in the email that the newspaper obtained.
An officer stopped Cosby and his wife on Sept. 15. He claimed that it was a legitimate traffic stop, but Cosby disagreed. The officer questioned the couple, checked the minister’s driver’s license and let them leave without writing a ticket.
Cosby’s daughter, Christine Cosby-Gaither, posted a video of the stop on Facebook. It ignited widespread racial profiling allegations against the officer.
In his email, Johnson claimed that aggressive policing has resulted in sharp crime reductions. He pointed to significant decline in homicides and non-fatal shootings as evidence.
But Black folks in the community are pushing back.
Rev. David Snardon, pastor of Joshua Tabernacle and president of the Interdenominational Ministerial Coalition, called Cosby’s stop “silly” and pointed to the bigger issue of racially biased policing. He also rejected Johnson’s claim that aggressive policing led to crime reductions, instead crediting the mayor’s crime prevention initiatives for the decline.
Meanwhile, an internal investigation into Cosby’s stop is underway, ordered by Louisville Police Chief Steve Conrad. Investigators have so far declined to identify the officer or release video footage of the incident.