Federal officials are now joining the investigation launched by Columbus, Ohio police after the shooting death of 23-year-old Casey Goodson Jr., who was killed in the afternoon on December 4 in Northeast Columbus by Franklin County Sheriff's SWAT deputy Jason Meade.
A U.S. Marshals task force had been searching for fugitives when officials claim Goodson Jr. drove by waving a gun. He was confronted by Franklin County Sheriff's deputies, who ordered him to drop the weapon. Meade, opened fire when Goodson Jr. allegedly did not comply. Goodson was, however, never the intended target of the search.
U.S. Attorney Jason DeVillers said Tuesday that the FBI and the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division are joining the Columbus Police Dept.’s Critical Incident Response Team to “review the facts and circumstances” of the incident, according to a DOJ statement. He said “appropriate action” will be taken if the investigation reveals any violations of civil rights laws.
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Goodson’s family confirms that he was licensed to carry a concealed weapon, which was confirmed by authorities, the Columbus Dispatch reports. But when he was shot, he was actually carrying submarine sandwiches as he was trying to enter his home after returning from a dental appointment. Officials say a weapon was recovered at the scene, but have not clarified where the weapon was found. His family also says he was shot three times in the back, although that has not been officially confirmed.
However an autopsy conducted Tuesday (Dec. 8) by the Franklin County Coroner's Office showed Goodson was shot in the torso and that his manner of death can be concluded as a homicide, according to local Columbus station WBNS. Final results are not expected to be released for several weeks, a coroner’s official said.
“This was senseless,” Goodson’s mother, Tamala Payne, told CNN’s Don Lemon on Tuesday. “My son would not have harmed a fly. If my son was given a command, he would have listened. He was a law abiding citizen, everything he did was legal.
“My son was murdered and there’s just no way around it. He deserves justice. I mean, the kid had a whole life in front of him. He had plans, he had dreams...he had goals and they were ripped from him for nothing.”
The shooting has drawn both local and national attention and demonstrations are planned for downtown Columbus for Friday and Saturday, according to the Dispatch.
Democratic Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown has joined the many voices calling for a full investigation into Goodson’s death.
Meanwhile, Meade, who is white and a 17-year-veteran in law enforcement, has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation. He has no known disciplinary record, but was one of a group of deputies involved in a 2018 shooting in Pike County, Ohio in which SWAT teams from his jurisdiction showed up to offer assistance in a standoff with a man who was being served a felony arrest warrant. In that incident, no deputies were found to be at fault, the Dispatch reports.
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