HARVEY, La. (WGNO) – Members of the Westbank NAACP gathered outside the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office this afternoon to protest the sheriff’s office releasing the man who shot and killed Joe McKnight.
NAACP representatives said “there’s no reason” that 54-year-old Ronald Gasser, the man the sheriff’s office said definitely shot and killed McKnight at a busy intersection in Terrytown, should not still be in jail.
“If you review revised statute, there is nothing that could’ve happened at 3 p.m. in broad daylight on a Louisiana highway in front of many people passing back and forth, that would make this man feel in danger of his life from a man who was unarmed. You have to be in imminent danger,” one NAACP member said.
Jefferson Parish deputies responded to a homicide about 2:30 p.m. at the intersection of Behrman Highway and Holmes Boulevard. McKnight was found lying on the ground. He had been shot, though it’s not clear how many times.
JPSO confirmed that Gasser was questioned and released sometime overnight. Charges will have to come from the District Attorney’s Office, the sheriff’s office said.
McKnight is a Kenner native and former John Curtis High School football standout who played for the University of Southern California, the New York Jets and the Kansas City Chiefs.
“He was in jail, and he should’ve stayed in jail,” another protester said. “We know that if a black man had done that to a white man, he would be in jail. We’re questioning why the sheriff has decided – why would you allow this man to go free?”
The sheriff’s office will give an update on the case at 1 p.m. Check back for updates.