At around 2:43 p.m. yesterday in the New Orleans suburb of Terrytown, Louisiana, 28 year old Joe McKnight, a professional football player who played three seasons for the New York Jets and one for the Kansas City Chiefs, was brutally gunned down in broad daylight on the side of the road. The shooting came after a dispute he had with an older man stemming from a traffic incident that occurred atop a bridge moments earlier. Despite having just callously murdered another person in cold blood, local police have decided that McKnight’s killer, 54 year old Ronald Gasser (who incidentally is white), should be released to roam the streets again immediately without charge. Now if this isn’t a manifestation of white privilege, what is?
The incident between Joe McKnight and Ronald Gasser, both of whom were driving, appears to have begun when one of the men cut the other one off as they crossed over a bridge. This led to both men pulling over at the intersection of Behram Highway and Holmes Boulevard, apparently to confront each other. What happened afterward is very much in dispute. A supposed witness originally claimed to have seen an injured Joe McKnight lying on the ground after being shot, all the while a screaming Ronald Gasser towered over him. This source claimed that McKnight apologized profusely to his assailant, only to be told, “I told you don’t you fuck with me.” That’s when they claim Gasser fired the fatal shot that ended the 28 year old’s life. This version of events was quickly disputed by authorities and the coroner’s autopsy, however. The coroner claimed the witness’s account is not credible because the wounds on McKnight’s body are not consistent with having been shot from above. Regardless, Joe McKnight was by all accounts the only one of the two men at the scene who was unarmed, and he was shot a total of three times. As described on NOLA.com,
“…one of the three bullets that struck McKnight, 28, entered his chest and traveled through his liver and kidney before exiting out his right lower back. Another bullet struck McKnight in his right shoulder and punctured his lung. The third bullet hit McKnight in his left hand, the coroner said.”
Not even a full day went by before the authorities decided it would be best to let McKnight’s killer go free without charge. That’s right. There will be no charge, and if there were there would be no conviction still. Hell, we aren’t even allowed a lousy mugshot of the guy, something that certainly would have been flashing all over television right now had the shoe been on the other foot. Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand was quick to assure everyone that, while no one can come to any conclusions until the police are finished conducting their so-called “investigation”, the one conclusion we can all be sure of is race played absolutely no part in anything whatsoever. “Everybody wants to make this about race,” claims Normand. “This isn’t about race.” In order for that to be believed, however, people would have to forget about or be able to completely disentangle from their lived experiences in the state of Louisiana and the rest of the country at large. After all, Louisiana has by far the largest incarceration rate (and incarcerated population) on the entire planet, due in no small part to Black people being locked away for petty and minor offenses, or defendants not being rich enough to make bail. All the while a white man just shot a Black man to death on the side of the road in broad daylight and didn’t even have to spend a single day in jail. Yeah, “this has nothing to do with race” my ass.
In the meantime, white racists have predictably been coming out of the woodwork to throw their support behind Ronald Gasser, well before they even knew the man’s name. They’re already helping him frame his actions as “self-defense”, citing a little-known Louisiana state law known as the ‘Kill the Carjacker’ law, which apparently doesn’t even take into account whether a car-jacking was actually occurring at all. It gives someone a license to kill as long as they believe they’re being subjected to a carjacking. It sounds suspiciously like yet another excuse to murder unarmed, defenseless people at will and get away with it by claiming it was all in “self-defense.”
UPDATE – TMZ posted the following image of Ronald Gasser which is much clearer than the one that was taken at the scene of the crime:
On top of that, the Sheriff’s department appears to be offering him 24 hour protection.
I understand that the shooter, who had a prior road rage instance a decade ago, has finally been arrested. Remember now that you’re talking about the Deep South, so things seem to take longer to process.
An interesting read, “Freeman”, by syndicated columnist Leonard Pitts, Jr. A historically-based, and well researched, novel about racism and uncertainty in the Deep South, immediately after the Civil War.
I would not be surprised if he gets off with a claim of “self-defense.”
Reblogged this on jaderpaes8013.
Thank you very much for the re-blog.
This is just terribly depressing. Very well-written article.
Thank you my friend. And sadly the minute I learned the man who shot him was white I said to my family, “He’ll be released by the police in no time.” The so-called “Justice” system in this country is so predictable. Justice is almost never to be expected from it.
Yes, I’ve lost hope when it comes to justice. You pretty know what the outcome of a trial will be.
Isn’t it crazy? Even Michael Slager, who shot a man whose back was turned to him, can’t seem to get a conviction because of one lone police brown-nosing juror. http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/us_5841f83fe4b0c68e0480eaf1
How can one rationally and fairly conclude that “a white man just shot a black man to death on the side of the road”, as stated in the post, if as stated in the post the coroner evidence refutes the claims of the witness?
Is it contended that the coroner falsely testified as to the evidence? Is there any evidence that the coroner did falsely testify? Is there any evidence that in the past these police officers handled the matter differently where somewhat comparable circumstances involved two white people, two black people, or an alleged black actor and alleged white victim?
Or should these questions be considered irrelevant in evaluating the actions of the police in this situation?
Even the police stated the incident occurred on the side of the road and that McKnight was unarmed and was indeed shot 3 times by Gasser. The only thing they disputed was that Gasser shot McKnight from above. So yes, it can be stated as a fact that “a white man shot a Black man to death on the side of the road.”
As for your second question, the fact is Black people are arrested for every little thing they do in Louisiana and have their mug shots flashed across the television for everything from jaywalking to being in possession of a weapon of any kind. You better believe they’d have been arrested and detained (if not also shot or brutalized) if they’d shot a person they got into a traffic incident with.
Reblogged this on The Militant Negro™.
Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
White priviledge!! Arrgghh …
Sadly, if a football player, i.e., an American Hero 1st class, can get murdered in broad daylight and no charges filed, then no one, nobody, can be safe on America’s street and roads. Soon it’ll be way beyond racism. You’ll get the Hatfields and McCoys at it, then open warfare between gangs, maybe even between police units – well that’d be OK but… I need to go shopping, is the armored car ready?
I have to say that last prospect doesn’t sound half bad, police units at war with each other. Anything to distract them from hurting civilians!