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“The initial decision to release Gasser, who is white, a few hours after he shot McKnight, who was black, ignited local protests and drew fierce condemnation on social media, where critics questioned whether a black shooting suspect would have walked free under similar circumstances.
“In a striking coincidence, the McKnight case played out just as a trial began in New Orleans over the death of former Saints lineman Will Smith — shot in April by a black suspect who was immediately arrested and now faces murder charges.
“Normand said the decision to release Gasser last week had nothing to do with his race. In extended remarks to the media, he quoted from comments posted on social media — omitting none of the offensive epithets they contained — and suggested that both men involved in the altercation bore some of the blame.”