Ronald Gasser, the man accused of killing former NFL star Joe McKnight just outside of New Orleans, has been formally arrested and charged with manslaughter, Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand announced during a contentious press conference Tuesday morning.
And by “contentious,” we mean “Normand completely freaked out because people were saying mean things about him.”
Alternating between explanatory and accusatory, Normand spent the bulk of his presentation to reporters chastising the public for its response to the early days of the investigation into McKnight’s death, during which Gasser had not initially been charged. He did not address the fact that people were perhaps on edge about a white man shooting a black man to death and not being immediately arrested because there is a seemingly endless amount of evidence that white people can kill black people with total impunity in America. Instead, he blamed the public for what he clearly felt was its lack of understanding about the case.
“Justice has no time period. Justice is not a sprint. It is a marathon,” Normand cautioned, later addressing his critics to say bluntly, “tough, I don’t care.”
The decision to delay charging Gasser came from a need to collect additional statements, Normand explained, saying that over a hundred additional interviews had been conducted since then, leading to Tuesday’s charges.
Normand, who has served as Jefferson Parish Sheriff since 2007, then launched into an emotional and animated defense of his office’s conduct in the days since McKnight was killed, chastising the inclination for immediate action, as well as—in a vulgarity laced tirade—those who attacked local officials and leaders as “punk-ass Uncle Tom coons,” “rat-ass faggot punks” and a “self serving son-of-a-bitch” on social media.
“Shame on you,” Normand admonished, before apologizing to those insulted online.
“I know on our day of reckoning, you will be recognized for standing up and doing the right thing,” Norman said. “I know that.”
Normand also took time to address what he claimed was the non-issue of race as it pertained to McKnight’s death. When asked by a reporter about the racial implications of the case, Normand cited his parish’s black-on-black crime statistics in a bizarre attempt to portray the public outcry over the incident as misguided.
Across Twitter, Normand’s non-sequitur pivot toward black on black crime was roundly criticized
Only during the question and answer phase of the press conference did Sheriff Normand address the specifics of his office’s investigation into McKnight’s death, describing the incident as “two people engaged in bad behavior” following a bout of bad driving, and an in-traffic argument.