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|Postat: 2018-09-12 04:12:37 Rubrik: w Orleans Saints also have filed recent discrimin
|The man convicted of manslaughter in the 2016 road rage shooting death of former NFL running back Joe McKnight was sentenced to 30 years in prison Thursday.
Ronald Gasser P. J. Williams Jersey , 56, had faced up to 40 years in prison. Defense lawyers argued that Gasser fired in self-defense when McKnight walked up to his car following a 5-mile confrontation that began on a bridge spanning the Mississippi River in New Orleans and ended with gunfire in neighboring Jefferson Parish.
"Let this be a cautionary tale," Judge Ellen Kovach said. McKnight's death could have been avoided "if either of the men had had the good sense, the courage and the wisdom to simply disengage."
Sentencing followed emotional testimony from McKnight's loved ones.
"That day, you didn't have to do that," McKnight's mother, Jennifer McKnight, said while looking down at Gasser, who sat a few feet away at the defense table. She cried throughout her testimony and was escorted from the courtroom sobbing.
Witnesses at the trial said McKnight had been weaving in and out of traffic at high speed before the shooting. Prosecutors acknowledged to the jury that he was, in the words of Assistant District Attorney Seth Shute Michael Pierce Jersey , "driving like a jerk." But they argued that Gasser escalated the conflict, following him down an exit that he would not ordinarily have taken moments before the shooting.
Shute acknowledged that McKnight had a hand on the open, passenger side window of Gasser's car before he was shot. But he said physical evidence proved Gasser lied during extensive police questioning when he claimed McKnight lunged at him.
Michelle Quick, the mother of McKnight's now 9-year-old son, described struggling to tell the child what had happened, and trying to protect him from seeing internet video of McKnight on the ground at the shooting scene as people worked to save him.
Defense attorney Matthew Goetz, who is appealing the verdict, had argued for a lenient sentence, noting Gasser's lack of a criminal record. A prosecutor argued that Gasser has shown no remorse.
McKnight had been a high school football hero at Louisiana's John Curtis Christian School. He signed with the University of Southern California in 2006. In the NFL, he played three seasons for the New York Jets and one with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Gasser was indicted on a second-degree murder charge. The jury voted 10-2 in January for the lesser verdict of manslaughter.
Gasser did not leave the scene of the shooting and he was released for a time after being questioned. He is white and his release after the shooting of the black athlete sparked protests from some who said race was a factor.
Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand Laquon Treadwell Jersey , who has since retired, denied that race played any role and noted that a thorough investigation led to Gasser's arrest and indictment. Prosecutors later recounted a painstaking investigation, including an extensive search for witnesses and physical evidence that eventually led to Gasser being charged.
The case in some ways echoed another New Orleans-area road rage shooting from 2016. Former New Orleans Saints star Will Smith was gunned down in that April incident. The shooter was later convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 25 years.
Five former NFL cheerleaders sued the Houston Texans on Friday, alleging the team failed to fully compensate them as required by law and subjected them to a hostile work environment in which they were harassed, intimidated and forced to live in fear.
The lawsuit, filed in Houston federal court, accuses the franchise of paying the women less than the $7.25 per hour they were promised, not compensating them for making public appearances or performing other tasks related to their jobs and creating a workplace where the women were threatened with being fired for voicing any complaints.
"I and my fellow cheerleaders were treated as the lowest of the low," Hannah Turnbow said at a news conference. "The Houston Texans were paid thousands of dollars to have us show up at appearances at locations all over Texas with no security, no transportation and where our safety was not guaranteed."
Turnbow said that after she was left with abrasions on her shoulder when she was attacked by a fan at one game Phil Simms Jersey , the team told her "to just suck it up."
"We were harassed, bullied and body shamed for $7.25 an hour," said ex-cheerleader Ainsley Parish.
Texans spokeswoman Amy Palcic said the team is constantly evaluating its cheerleader program and makes changes "as needed to make the program enjoyable for everyone."
"We are proud of the cheerleader program and have had hundreds of women participate and enjoy their experience while making a positive impact in the local community," Palcic said in a brief statement.
Prominent women's rights attorney Gloria Allred, who's representing the cheerleaders, alleged the women were paid "so little or not paid at all" for much of the work they did because of their gender.
"Surely (Texans owner Bob) McNair and the Houston Texans can find it in their budget of hundreds of millions of dollars to pay these women a fair wage, not minimum wage," Allred said. "I say, stop penny pinching. Pay these women what they deserve and make sure you pay them for every minute that they work."
The lawsuit is seeking unspecified damages.
This is the second such lawsuit filed against the Texans.
Last month, three ex-cheerleaders also filed suit in Houston federal court Ray-Ray Armstrong Jersey , accusing the Texans of not paying them minimum wage, not paying overtime wages and accusing a cheerleading supervisor of body shaming them.
These lawsuits are part of a series of recent complaints that have been made by cheerleaders against NFL teams across the country.
The New York Times reported last month that on a trip to Costa Rica for a photo shoot in 2013, Washington Redskins cheerleaders had their passports collected, were forced to be topless for a calendar photo shoot that included male spectators and were asked to be escorts for sponsors at a nightclub.
Former cheerleaders with the Miami Dolphins and the New Orleans Saints also have filed recent discriminatory complaints and lawsuits against their ex-teams.
Last year, a federal judge in California dismissed a lawsuit that had been filed by a former San Francisco 49ers cheerleader who had accused the NFL and team owners of conspiring to suppress wages for cheerleaders.
Allred said she planned next week to present a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell asking him to review the complaints being made by her clients and other cheerleaders about their working conditions.
Follow Juan A. Lozano on Twitter at juanlozano70
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