The man responsible for the December 2016 death of former NFL player Joe McKnight, has been sentenced to 30 years in prison, The Associated Press reports. Ronald Gasser is charged with manslaughter after killing McKnight in a road rage shooting style death.
Defense attorneys for the 56-year-old claim the killing was an act of self-defense when the two got into an altercation that spanned five miles; the confrontation reportedly began at the Mississippi River in New Orleans, and tragically ended in Jefferson Parish.
Past reports indicate that a witness said Gasser stood over McKnight as he shot him and said, I told you don’t you f**k with me.” Reportedly, the slain 30-year-old wasn’t armed.
Nonetheless, Gasser’s conviction brings justice to McKnight’s untimely death. In 2016, The Undefeated explored the discrepancies that exist in the criminal justice system among white and black offenders.
Statistics show that the justice system is far more inclined to excuse whites in instances where they claim to have been justified in killing blacks. In a 2013 report analyzing FBI data, researchers at the Urban Institute’s Justice Policy Center found that across the nation white-on-black homicide was 281 percent more likely to be deemed justified than white-on-white homicide. In “stand your ground” states, that percentage jumped to 350. All the while, black-on-white homicides — which were least likely to occur overall — were also the least likely to be excused as justified.
McKnight was a football star who played three seasons for the New York Jets and one with Kansas City Chiefs. He was 28 when he died, and had hopes of returning to the NFL. McKnight was drafted by USC in 2006 from Louisiana’s John Curtis Christian School where he excelled at the sport.