MSNBC cut away from a live press conference about the murder of former NFL star Joe McKnight when the Jefferson Parish sheriff, Newell Normand, unexpectedly started using foul language while reading hateful comments lawmakers received during the investigation.
“It’s not fair for him to be called, ‘You punk-a– Uncle Tom coon, we saw you sell out to them, you rat-a– f—ot punk,’” he read. “That’s the tone of what we call our elected leaders for standing up and simply saying let justice prevail and let the process take its course.”
Anchor Tamron Hall decided to “pivot” as Normand was reading another comment that started with, “You a—kissing f—ot.”
“First of all, let me apologize for some of the language we were not expecting,” Hall said, explaining that the official dropped “racial slurs and homophobic remarks that we did not prepare and did not honestly expect from the sheriff of a police department.”
The sheriff went on to read tweets that included the N-word, as well.
Normand defended his decision to read the NSFW comments at the press conference when a reporter asked why he thought it was necessary.
“I hope it gets everyone to realize how crazy we’re getting, and that we need to create pause,” Normand said. “And we need to understand that people just simply asking to let them do their job and don’t rush to judgement, and don’t start creating this furor, just simply because they said let them work through this process.”
McKnight, a former NFL running back for both the New York Jets and Kansas City Chiefs, was murdered in Terrytown, Louisiana, in an apparent road rage incident. He was 28. The suspect in the shooting was identified as Ronald Gasser, whose prompt release from prison hours after the shooting sparked outrage on social media.
Normand apparently took just as much offense to the chatter on social media as individuals did that Gasser, whom authorities said in a statement “did in fact shoot Mr. McKnight,” wasn’t held in custody until he was charged with manslaughter on Tuesday.
When a reporter pushed back by asking if Normand understands “where that fear and anger comes from,” he responded by explaining “black-on-black crime” statistics.
“Seventy-eight percent of the murders are committed by black perpetrators, and 78 percent of the victims murdered in this parish are black,” Normand said. “So if we’re just going to look statistically, your fear — what you’re trying to articulate right now — is misdirected.”