Dec 8, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Federal authorities investigating police killing of Black man in Ohio

Casey Goodson

Casey Goodson, Jr. Photo: Coutesy of Goodson's family attorneys

Federal authorities are investigating the police shooting of Casey Goodson, Jr., who was killed by a sheriff's deputy last week as he entered his home in Columbus, Ohio, officials announced Tuesday.

Driving the news: The 23-year-old Black man was shot and killed last Friday by Franklin County Sheriff's Office deputy Jason Meade who was working for the U.S. Marshall's fugitive task force. Columbus Police, who are investigating the shooting, said the deputy reported witnessing a man with a gun. Goodson's family attorneys say he was carrying sandwiches.

Details: Police say Meade was conducting a search with the U.S. Marshall’s Task Force when he reported witnessing a man with a gun.

  • “The deputy was investigating the situation, and there are reports of verbal exchange. The deputy fired at Mr. Casey Goodson, resulting in his death,” Columbus police said Sunday.
  • Law enforcement officers noted that Goodson was not the person being sought by the U.S. Marshall’s Task Force.
  • "A gun was recovered from Mr. Goodson," police added.
  • Goodson’s family attorneys said in a statement Sunday that, while “police claim that Casey drove by, waving a gun, and was confronted by the deputy after exiting his vehicle, that narrative leaves out key details that raise cause for extreme concern.”
  • “Casey was shot and killed as he unlocked his door and entered his home. His death was witnessed by his 72-year-old Grandmother and two toddlers who were near the door,” the statement adds.
  • Attorneys noted that Casey was “not alleged to have committed any crimes, has no criminal background, and was not the target of any investigation.” They also said he was licensed to carry a concealed weapon.

The Columbus Division of Police said in a news release Tuesday that its Critical Incident Response Team is investigating whether Meade was “legally justified in shooting Goodson.”

  • The FBI and U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio are launching a federal civil rights investigation, the division added.
  • “After being brief about the circumstances surrounding the incident by CPD, I believe a federal investigation is warranted,” U.S. Attorney David DeVillers said, adding that Columbus Police are “eminently qualified to investigate and get to the truth of this tragedy.”
  • Of note: There is no body camera footage of the shooting because Franklin County Sheriff's task force officers are not issued body cameras, police said.

Family attorney Sean Walton said Sunday that “Casey was a vocal supporter of civil rights, freedom, and justice for all.”

  • “As I have come to learn more about Casey, what stands out to me is how proud he was to protect his family and to show his younger siblings the right way to live,” Walton added.
“It is important that his name and legacy continue in a way that is befitting of his short yet powerful life…. The family and the community demand swift justice for Casey Goodson.”

The big picture: Activists and civil rights leaders said Friday's shooting is yet another example of police violence against Black people in the U.S.

  • "Outraged and heartbroken once again that we have to elevate the life of another Black man that has died at the hands of law enforcement," tweeted Columbus City Council Member Shayla Favor.
  • Benjamin Crump, a prominent civil rights attorney who represents several families of police shooting victims, tweeted: "This shoot 1st, ask Qs later mentality MUST END!"
  • At least 1,015 people have been shot and killed by police in the past year, according to the Washington Post’s Fatal Force database.
  • A Post analysis in 2016 found that while Black Americans account for less than 13% of the U.S. population, “they are killed by police at more than twice the rate of white Americans.”

Go deeper: Police kill far more people in the U.S. than in most rich countries

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