NEW ORLEANS – A lawyer is starting a petition to ask Jefferson Parish’s top prosecutor to charge the man who authorities said admitted shooting ex-NFL player Joe McKnight.
Just hours after pulling the trigger Thursday afternoon, 54-year-old Ronald Gasser was released from custody.
That decision sparked outrage throughout the community.
“Had Joe McKnight done to the other what happened to him, (he) would be in jail,” said Charles Wilson, Jefferson Parish Constable.
That prompted Attorney Brian Ponder to write a letter to Jefferson Parish District Attorney Paul Connick Jr, asking Connick arrest and bring charges against Gasser.
“You have an admitted shooter and you have a dead man,” explained Ponder. “You have probable cause to make an arrest. But here we didn’t have an arrest and we had a sheriff that was basically giving all of the defense angles for the admitted killer.”
Ponder is talking about the press conference Sheriff Newell Normand held the day after Gasser’s release, where he presented some of the facts of the case saying Gasser did not stand over McKnight when shooting him.
“The easiest thing for me would have been (to book him), but the fact of the matter is in trying to flesh out these details as it relates to all of this and not having that rush to judgment,” said Normand at the press conference Friday.
“I want people to reach out in numbers to make the district attorney do what he is supposed to do,” said Ponder. “He’s an elected official, he works for the parish, the people voted him in to do his job to prosecute people for committing crimes.”
Ponder along with many others believe by not arresting Gasser a precedent for people to be able to shoot a person without repercussion.
“We stand here asking justice for the McKnight family and justice for this community,” said Morris Reed, branch president with the New Orleans NAACP. “Injustice to anyone, according to Dr. King, is an injustice to us all.”