On Thursday, the Ohio sheriff’s deputy who shot Casey Goodson Jr. five times in the back was charged with murder, while Goodson’s family filed a federal civil rights lawsuit and the now-retired deputy publicly recounted details of the incident for the first time.
The shooting of Goodson, a Black man, by longtime deputy Jason Meade, a white man, in December 2020 sparked protests in Columbus and raised many issues, in part because the killing was not captured on body or dash camera film.
According to Meade’s counsel, the deputy opened fire after Goodson waved a gun at him. Goodson’s family has never denied that he was carrying a gun but has pointed out that he did have a permit to do so.
Goodson’s family claims he was shot while opening the door to his grandmother’s house, holding a bag of sandwiches. Investigators have stated that a gun was retrieved from the site, but have not released any other information.
The case is still being investigated as a criminal matter by the US attorney’s office, with assistance from the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.
Tamala Payne, Goodson’s mother, said she was “overwhelmed with excitement” when she learned of the indictment on Thursday.
“It’s been a year of misery, grief, and pain,” Payne said at a late-morning press appearance, flanked by many families. “However, I am confident that every day this year, my family and I will rise and fight for what is right.”
The incident occurred on Dec. 4, 2020, when Meade, a 17-year sheriff’s deputy, was wrapping up a fruitless hunt for a fugitive as part of his job for a US Marshals Service task group. The fugitive search did not include Goodson, and the Marshals have stated that Meade was not on a mission for them at the time of the shooting.
According to a long description from Meade’s perspective presented by attorney Mark Collins on Thursday, the deputy began pursuing Goodson after he said he observed him pointing a gun at another car and then at Meade. Meade, for one, has remained silent about the shooting. According to the statement, Meade followed Goodson in his car, who was “waving the pistol wildly,” and then stopped and put on a tactical vest identifying himself as a member of the Marshals’ task team.
According to the statement, Meade followed Goodson on foot as he proceeded toward a residence, carrying a revolver in his right hand and a plastic bag in his left. According to Meade’s statement, Meade announced himself as an officer and ordered Goodson to expose his hands. When Goodson turned and lifted his right arm back, aiming the gun at the deputy, he thought he was about to comply, according to the statement. Goodson was shot five times in the back, according to the Franklin County coroner in March. According to Collins, Meade will enter a not guilty plea at his initial hearing on Friday.
“We aim to litigate this issue in such a way that all stones are turned over and Jason receives the process that he is entitled to,” Collins said.
Also on Thursday, the family’s wrongful-death lawsuit against Meade and the sheriff’s office was disclosed by attorney Sean Walton.
Despite dismal performances as a deputy, including being placed on “no inmate contact status” for nearly four years, the lawsuit claims Meade got hundreds of hours of guns and SWAT training but little on violent de-escalation techniques. The grounds for that placement were not specified in the lawsuit.
According to spokesman Kayla Merchant, the Franklin County Prosecutor’s Office, which represents the sheriff’s office, does not comment on pending lawsuits.
Despite the fact that the shooting did not involve Columbus police, it occurred at a time when tensions were high following previous police shootings of Black people in Ohio’s capital, a situation that was exacerbated less than three weeks later when a white Columbus police officer shot and killed Andre Hill, 47, as he emerged from a garage holding a cellphone.
Adam Coy, the officer who was later fired, has pleaded not guilty to murder and will stand trial next year.
Following Goodson’s shooting, large protests erupted, with demonstrators yelling “Justice for Casey” and blocking downtown roadways.
Meade took a disability retirement on July 2nd. Since the incident, the deputy had been on administrative leave from the sheriff’s office. Sheriff Dallas Baldwin has stated that the autopsy “did not disclose all of the evidence needed,” and that he will not pursue any disciplinary punishment against Meade until the criminal inquiry is completed. Baldwin said on Thursday that he has instructed his team to review the probe as soon as possible so that the agency can learn all it can.
In a statement, he said, “This office has a professional commitment to do everything in its power to ensure the community and our deputies are kept safe.” “I pray for everyone affected in this tragedy, as I’ve said from the outset.”
Since the county prosecutor’s office acts as legal counsel to the sheriff’s office and expects to have to defend the county and the law enforcement agency in this case, Franklin County Prosecutor Gary Tyack appointed two independent prosecutors to investigate in June.