Modern-Day American Lynching:
Joe McKnight, Murdered by White Man in Broad Daylight in New Orleans

December 5, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper |


Joe McKnight

On Thursday, December 1, Joe McKnight, a 28-year-old Black man, was murdered by a white man in broad daylight on a busy street on the edge of New Orleans. McKnight, who had no weapon, was shot three times at close range. Bullets penetrated his liver and his left lung, according to the first report from a doctor. Cops showed up and briefly detained the killer, Ronald Gasser. Before the sun came up on Friday, Gasser was back on the streets, WITH NO FUCKING CHARGES FOR SHOOTING AND KILLING A BLACK MAN.

This is lynch law, straight up. This is law that says a Black man has no rights that a white man is bound to respect, as the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the days of slavery. Does anyone think if the situation had somehow been reversed—if a Black man had shot and killed an unarmed white man in the middle of the afternoon in front of multiple witnesses—the Black man would be politely questioned and released by police?

Joe McKnight had been a star football player in high school and college, and had played professionally in the NFL. He was hoping for a comeback after overcoming injuries. In 2009 the New Orleans Times Picayune named him the local high school “athlete of the decade.” His life touched many people in and around New Orleans, and there has been an outpouring of grief and rage since people learned of his death. Hundreds of people gathered for a vigil for Joe McKnight on Saturday.

Jefferson Parish Sheriffs say the incident that led to Joe McKnight’s death was “road rage.” But the Times Picayune reported that a woman who was at the intersection where Joe McKnight was shot and killed said she saw one man “yelling at another man, who was trying to apologize. The man who was yelling shot the other man more than once, she said. She said the shooter shot the man, stood over him and said ‘I told you don't you fuck with me.’ Then he fired again, she said.” 

There have been no videos released of Joe McKnight’s murder. The head pig in Jefferson Parish, Newell Normand, blustered that he wasn’t going to be “rushed to judgement” and defended releasing Gasser. He disputed the woman’s claim that McKnight was apologizing for whatever incident may have happened between them on the road—which means he is already saying he believes whatever Gasser told him.

Then Normand implied that Gasser could use a “stand your ground” defense—similar to the legal argument the racist murderer George Zimmerman used to defend his murder of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Normand, who had just allowed a killer to walk free, finished his statement by threatening to arrest people protesting his department’s refusal to charge and arrest Gasser.

Time after infuriating time, over and over and over, police get away with murdering Black and Latino people. For centuries in this country, the laws and courts—all the way up to the Supreme Court—have allowed white people to perpetrate violence, including murder, upon Black people. It seems there is literally nothing these pigs and racists can’t do to Black people and be punished for it.

This is completely illegitimate. It must be resisted and fought. And most of all, there must be an actual revolution that thoroughly defeats the capitalist-imperialist system that thrives on such horrors, as soon as it can possibly be made.


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