Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand held a press conference on Tuesday morning to address the fatal shooting of former NFL player Joe McKnight, a black man, in an alleged road-rage incident last Thursday afternoon.
Before charging Ronald Gasser, a white man, with manslaughter on Monday night, Normand initially released him on Friday, after he admitted to killing McKnight. During his Tuesday morning presser, Normand alleged that the shooting “isn’t about race,” Think Progress reported.
Normand read off some of the words that were directed at sheriffs in his department. The remarks included various racial slurs and homophobic language, like “Uncle Tom,” “f*ggot,” and “c**n.”
According to Sheriff Normand, the shooting was not racially motivated because the perpetrator allegedly didn’t use any racial slurs during the incident.
When prompted to address the altercation itself, Normand described it as “two people engaged in bad behavior.” According to the sheriff’s account of the events, Gasser chased McKnight after McKnight cut him off.
When the two reached a stoplight, they heatedly exchanged words before McKnight got out of his vehicle and walked up to Gasser’s driver’s seat window. Gasser then shot him three times.
“Let us not try to make this out to be something that it is not,” Normand said. “What we had were two adult males engaged in unacceptable behavior.” A reporter asked Normand if he could sympathize with the fears of many black Americans about being killed, and the lack of justice that follows.
“Your fear, what you’re trying to articulate right now, is misdirected,” Normand responded. He also reportedly cited black-on-black crime and murder statistics to back up his argument that the altercation had nothing to do with race.
Watch part of the presser below, via Mediaite: