Wednesday, 07 December 2016 14:23

JP Sheriff Normand unfairly blasted for doing his job in McKnight killing

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normandThe tragic shooting death of former NFL star Joe McKnight on December 1 has placed Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand in the media spotlight. 

Initially, he was criticized for not immediately arresting Ronald Gasser, the motorist who shot McKnight in the road rage incident that ended in Terrytown. Normand’s decision to continue the investigation and wait before arresting Gasser unleashed a torrent of vitriol against Normand from civil rights leaders. This was clearly unjustified and is the result of too many people in our community looking at every issue through the lens of race. 

In fact, this incident had nothing to do with race and was caused by road rage. As Normand noted in his press conference yesterday, "not a single witness has said up to this day that there was one racial slur uttered during the course of these events." 

If the Sheriff had initially arrested Gasser, it may have compromised the investigation and possibly impacted the testimony from people who witnessed the incident. The Sheriff did the right thing by properly investigating this high-profile case. 

By Tuesday, he had determined that Gasser should be arrested for manslaughter. Now the Jefferson Parish District Attorney Paul Connick will examine the evidence and decide whether Gasser should be charged with manslaughter or any other crimes. 

Normand was also criticized by MSNBC for reading hate mail directed at African American elected officials at his televised news conference. Normand was defending these leaders who advised the African American community to have patience and wait until the investigation was complete before launching any protests. He lamented the fact that these leaders were labeled “Uncle Toms,” the “N word” among other hateful insults. 

As Normand was reading these comments, MSNBC anchor Tamron Hall cut away from his press conference and apologized to their viewers for exposing them to “racial slurs and homophobic remarks that we did not prepare and did not honestly expect from the sheriff of a police department." Yet, Normand was not finished, for after MSNBC left his news conference, he read more of the vile comments that were tweeted about the African American lawmakers who supported his handling of the investigation. 

Regardless of the foul language, Normand is to be commended for honestly telling the media what is happening in our community. MSNBC should be more realistic with their viewers. People were viciously attacking his office for thoroughly investigating the case and elected officials and ministers for simply advising restraint and patience.

It is very sad that in our country today law enforcement officials are not allowed to do their job before being insulted and accused of racism. MSNBC needs to be truthful about the type of challenges that our law enforcement officials face not only in Jefferson Parish, but also throughout the rest of the country. 

Thank goodness, this highly publicized case is being handled by someone as competent and respected as Sheriff Newell Normand. He has a tremendous crime fighting record and has been re-elected multiple times with over 90% of the vote. There have never been any credible accusations of racism directed against his office and the issue of race was clearly not a factor in this shooting or in how the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office handled the case.


Last modified on Wednesday, 07 December 2016 14:41
Jeff Crouere

Jeff Crouere is a native New Orleanian and his award winning program, Ringside Politics,” airs locally at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and at 10:00 p.m. Sundays on PBS affiliate WLAE-TV, Channel 32, and from 7-11 a.m.weekdays on WGSO 990-AM & He is a political columnist, the author of America's Last Chance and provides regular commentaries on the Jeff Crouere YouTube channel and on For more information, email him at [email protected]

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