Network pulls cameras from sheriff describing threats on cops

Sheriff Newell Normand

Sheriff Newell Normand blasted those who sent obscene, threatening comments to officers and elected officials.

In an emotional press conference Tuesday, Louisiana Sheriff Newell Normand condemned the dozens of obscene, threatening messages his department received in the wake of the shooting death of former New York Jets player Joe McKnight in an alleged incidence of road rage.

The press conference was called Tuesday to announce that the shooter, 54-year-old Ronald Gasser, has been charged with manslaughter in the Dec. 1 incident in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana.

But Normand also took the opportunity to lash out at the dozens of people who contacted his department with threats and accusations. Many of them jumped to conclusions and were eager to inject race into the case.

Joe McKnight

Joe McKnight

“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?” Normand told reporters. “Two people engaged in bad behavior that day. Why? I don’t know, but they did.”

Ronald Gasser, 54, has been charged with manslaughter in the shooting death of Joe McKnight.

Ronald Gasser, 54, has been charged with manslaughter in the shooting death of Joe McKnight.

Normand released new information Tuesday, saying that McKnight, 28, got out of his SUV and approached Gasser’s car. Words were exchanged and Gasser shot him.

He said one local official, who apparently is black, received threatening messages from a long list of people.

“It’s not fair for him to be called, ‘You punk ass Uncle Tom coon — We saw you sell out to them you rat-ass faggot punk.’ 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?”

News anchorwoman Tamron Hall of MSNBC then cut away from the press conference and apologized to viewers for not cutting away sooner.

“Ladies and gentlemen, we’re going to pivot from this, what has been — first of all, let me apologize for some of the language,” Hall said.

“We were not expecting that,” she continued. “That is the sheriff from Jefferson Parish who used several — what he said were quotes directed at sheriffs in his department — slurs, racial slurs and homophobic remarks that we were not prepared, and quite honestly did not expect from the sheriff of a police department.”

Viewers watching on Twitter were outraged that MSNBC cut away. Here are just a few of the reactions:

Watch the clip of MSNBC coverage of sheriff’s press conference:

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Jeffrey Roorda, a retired police officer and a four-term Missouri State Representative who authored the new book “The War on Police,” said Hall’s actions were unprofessional and showed MSNBC’s bias.

“Here you have the chief law enforcement officer of a police agency investigating a high-profile homicide, trying to defend the integrity of the investigation by demonstrating that his most vocal critics are a pack of angry, vulgar loudmouths who use offensive ad hominem attacks against his department and elected officials,” Roorda told WND.

“Instead of directing their shock at the behavior and lack of credibility of these critics, MSNBC chooses to disparage the Sheriff for calling out the bad behavior of his detractors,” he added. “Then the MSNBC anchor censors his news conference and feigns righteous indignation. This is one of the very news networks leading the charge against so-called ‘fake news’ allegedly generated by other media outlets yet when something very real is happening on camera, they preempt it because it doesn’t fit neatly into the narrative they are trying to advance. Shameful.”

By contrast, Fox News let the cameras roll and did not censor the sheriff’s press conference.

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The shooting death of McKnight and release of Gasser — who is white — sparked outrage on social media among Black Lives Matter activists and McKnight’s former teammates.

“The War on Police,” delves into one of the most tumultuous times in recent history for law enforcement, spawning a growing movement, fueled by a biased news media and Black Lives Matter, to demonize police across the country.

Sheriff Normand said the investigation followed the same professional protocol that would accompany any criminal investigation.

The fact that Gasser was released from jail infuriated the activists and establishment media weighed in with “news” reports highly critical of the sheriff. Slate.com, for example, said in a news story that the sheriff’s explanation for releasing Gasser was “vague” and “odd,” when the sheriff said clearly that there had been false rumors circulating about the shooting and people needed to wait until the facts were released before drawing conclusions.

“I would strongly suggest that you stop believing what you’re reading,” he said, citing several reports that depicted the shooting as a cold-blooded assassination.

Nola.com, for instance, quoted an unnamed “witness” who claimed McKnight was killed execution-style:

A witness, who declined to give her name, said she saw a man at the intersection yelling at McKnight, who was trying to apologize. The man shot McKnight more than once, the witness said. She said he shot McKnight, stood over him and said, “I told you don’t you f— with me.” Then the man fired again, she said.

Normand directly contradicted this account, saying that the three shell casings were found in Gasser’s car, which would indicate that he fired from his automobile into McKnight’s and not when he was standing over him. The coroner Gerald Cvitanovich said McKnight was shot three times in the hand, shoulder, and chest, and the wounds were inconsistent with what the witness described to Nola.com.

“We have no witness account of an apology being made by Mr. McKnight to Mr. Gasser so that did not occur,” Normand said, without explaining why this information wouldn’t potentially taint other future witness accounts.

“I’ve been already accused of dropping the ball … because we released Mr. Gasser last evening after we took his statement,” Normand said, adding, “I can’t go into the details as why that is at this point in time, but I can tell you I can’t wait for the moment so that I can set the record straight.”

Another witness told TMZSports that she heard Gasser and McKnight arguing on Thursday afternoon while she was visiting a nearby business. The witness said she spoke with officers at the scene and gave them her account of what happened.

The sheriff was adamant that Gasser was not released because he is white and McKnight was black.

“Look, the easiest thing for me would have been ‘book him, Dano.’ Right? But the fact of the matter is that in trying to flush out these details in how it relates to all of this and not having that rush to judgment and doing this in a very deliberate and appropriate fashion we chose not to do that,” he said. “Of course, where that leads us in this point and time is that everybody wants to make this about race. This isn’t about race.”

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