- Sheriff Newell Normand of the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office held a press conference about the road-rage shooting that led to the death of Joe McKnight
- He made no mention of the details of the shooting in his opening remarks, and instead attacked the Black Lives Matter movement and members of the public
- He said that the shooting was ‘not about race’ and criticized those who believed it was
- Sheriff Normand also said that this incident occurred because ‘two people engaged in bad behavior,’ McKnight and his shooter, Ronald Gasser
- Later, Sheriff Normand began referencing black-on-black crime statistics, saying that public outcry about this white-on-black shooting was uncalled for
- Ronald Gasser, 54, was taken into custody on December 5 and charged with manslaughter in the death of McKnight
A press conference that was meant to discuss the arrest of Ronald Gasser for the shooting of Joe McKnight turned into an attack on members of the Black Lives Matter movement, the media and members of the public in general on Tuesday.
Sheriff Newell Normand of the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office made no comments about the actual event that led to the shooting of McKnight during his initial remarks, and instead loudly criticized those who called the shooting racially motivated, and who questioned his department’s decision to release Gasser that day after the incident.
‘This is not about race,’ said a defiant Normand, who banged on his podium multiple times while delivering his remarks, during which he fired off racial and homophobic slurs when describing the way his staff had been attacked by members of the public.
He also described what happened last Thursday as ‘two people engaged in bad behavior’ on multiple occasions during his remarks.
Gasser, 54, was taken into custody on December 5 by police and charged with manslaughter, with his bond set at $500,000.
It was not until he opened the floor for questions that a reporter was finally able to ask him to provide the actual details of McKnight’s shooting.
Then, while taking questions, he began to reference black-on-black crime statistics, using these as an example of why public outcry about this white-on-black shooting is misguided.
‘Statistically, your fear is misdirected,’ said Normand.
‘What we had were two adult males engaged in unacceptable behavior who did not understand how to deal with conflict resolution, and this thing went to a point that unfortunately led to incredibly tragic consequences over bad driving behavior and bad spoken words.’
He later added: ‘Not a single witness has said up to this day that there was one racial slur uttered during the course of these events and unfortunately, a life was lost, but you want to know something, folks? Two people engaged in bad behavior that day. Why? I don’t know, but they did.’
He then read some of the criticism his department had been receiving, as had other elected officials in the area.
‘It’s not fair for him to be called, ‘You punk a** Uncle Tom c****. We saw you sell out to them you rat a** f***** punk,”‘ said Sheriff Normand at one point.
‘That’s the tone of what we call our elected leaders for standing up and saying let justice prevail and let the process take its course?’
Sheriff Normand had said earlier in the press conference: ‘I am very much disappointed in the conduct of some of the citizens of not only this parish, but this country. At some point in time we’re going to have to come to grips with the dialogue and the rhetoric in this country.’
He also attacked the first eyewitness in the case, who he claimed lies repeatedly to authorities, telling three different stories in the span of an hour.
That individual claimed that Gasser has stood over McKnight’s body and fired a shot, something that Sheriff Normand claims that the autopsy proved was not true.
Results of the autopsy have not yet been made available to members of the public.
‘Shame on that individual,’ said Sheriff Normand.
He seemed to take the most issue however with the fact that there was outrage over the release of Gasser, a white man, by a police department run by a white sheriff, shortly after the shooting of a black man.
Sheriff Normand claimed that this was all just ‘strategic,’ and in now way out of the ordinary.
‘In fact, it is not uncommon and there’s nothing we’ve done in this case that is out of the ordinary or unusual,’ said Sheriff Normand said.
‘I can point to hundreds of cases where we’ve identified shooters, accused perpetrators, that we do not arrest at the point of time of us knowing that, for strategic reasons in an investigation.’
He also stated that if he had arrested Gasser on Thursday evening after the shooting, no witness would have ever come forward in the case.
On Thursday, deputies who arrived on the scene said that Gasser handed over his gun and admitted to shooting McKnight.
Witnesses on the scene stated that the two men were seen in a heated argument before three shots were fired, killing McKnight.
Witnesses said that McKnight did not have a weapon, something that authorities later confirmed.
There were also reports that after Gasser had shot McKnight he stood over his body and shot him one more, saying: ‘I told you not to f*** with me.’
McKnight was pronounced dead at the scene.
Police took Gasser in at that time but released him the next morning. Louisiana is a ‘Stand Your Ground’ state.
DailyMail.com has established that both Gasser and his late father, Robert Gasser Sr, have a history of troubles on the road ranging from speeding tickets to illegally cutting across private property.
The most troubling parallel was revealed by the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, which is investigating McKnight’s death.
The sheriff said that it happened on February 20, 2006 on the Crescent City Connection bridge, which is where Gasser’s altercation a decade later with McKnight began.
At the time, John Shilling was 51 and working at the Rolls Royce Commercial Marine in New Orleans.
Speaking at his home in Marrero, Shilling said: ‘There was a number on the side of the vehicle if he was driving irate and crazy.
‘I said to myself I was going to call his boss. I called the number and he was the boss. I said hey we’ve got a guy in a red truck. He said: ‘I am the guy in the red truck!’
‘It didn’t bother me. I said you’re driving like a fool. He sees me on the phone and realizes it’s me.
‘I pull off (the road) to get out the way, unlike the two of them (McKnight and Gasser). They stayed together.’
It was then when he went to a gas station that Shilling said Gasser hopped out of his car and began to spit at him and ‘swung at him a few times.’
Gasser then drove off but was later issued a misdemeanor summons for simple battery which was ultimately dismissed.