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Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Murder charge of Ohio MP for the murder of Casey Goodson, Jr.

COLUMBUS, OH – An Ohio deputy sheriff who shot Casey Goodson Jr. in the back five times was charged with murder on Thursday as the Goodson family also filed a federal civil rights lawsuit, and the now retired MP has publicly shared details that happened, from his point of view, for the first time.

The shooting of Goodson, who was black, in December 2020 by longtime MP Jason Mead, who was white, led to protests in Columbus and a host of unresolved issues, in part because the murder was not recorded on a corpse or DVR footage.

Mead’s lawyer says the deputy fired when Goodson pointed a gun at him. The Goodson family has never denied that Goodson may have carried a pistol, but noted that he also had a license to carry a firearm.

The Goodson family says Goodson was opening the door to his grandmother’s house with a bag of sandwiches when he was shot. Investigators said weapons were found at the scene, but did not provide details.

The case continues with a criminal investigation by the US Attorney’s Office with the assistance of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.

Goodson’s mother, Tamala Payne, said she was “overwhelmed with joy” upon hearing of the indictment Thursday.

“It was a year of sadness, it was a year of grief, it was a year of pain,” Payne said at a morning press conference surrounded by several relatives. “But I know that every day this year my family and I wake up and fight for what’s right.”

The shooting occurred on December 4, 2020, as Mead, a 17-year-old sheriff’s office employee, was finishing an unsuccessful search for a fugitive as part of his job with the US Marshals Service task force. Goodson was not the subject of a cursory search, and the marshals stated that Meade was not on a mission for them at the time of the shooting.

The lawmaker began pursuing Goodson after he said he saw him point a gun at another driver and then at Mead, according to a lengthy report from Mead’s perspective published Thursday by lawyer Mark Collins. Mead himself did not speak publicly about the shooting.

Meade followed Goodson in his car, who the MP said was “waving a firearm indiscriminately,” then parked and donned a tactical vest, identifying himself as a member of the Marshal’s Task Force, according to a statement.

The statement said Mead followed Goodson on foot as Goodson walked towards the house. Goodson held a pistol in his right hand and a plastic bag in his left. According to Mead, Mead introduced himself as an officer and ordered Goodson to show his hands. He thought Goodson was going to comply when Goodson turned and raised his right hand back, pointing a pistol at the MP, the statement said.

Mead “ordered Mr Goodson to ‘drop the gun’ once more, and when that command was ignored and while the gun was pointed at Mr Mead, he, fearing for his life and those in the house, fired his pistol. weapons to Mr. Goodson, ”the statement said.

The family said Goodson had a sandwich in his hand, not a gun. But even if Goodson had a pistol, as the family repeated, he had permission to do so.

The Franklin County coroner said in March that Goodson received five shots in the back.

The judge has scheduled a preliminary hearing for Friday in Mead, who pleads not guilty, Collins said.

“We intend to challenge this case in such a way as to ensure that all the stones are turned over and Jason gets a due trial,” Collins said.

Also on Thursday, attorney Sean Walton announced the family’s wrongful death lawsuit against Mead and the sheriff’s office.

Casey Goods
Sean Walton (left), attorney representing Tamalu Payne (right), mother of Casey Goodson Jr., speaks at a press conference in Columbus, Ohio on December 2, 2021. (Jay Laprette / AP Photo)

The lawsuit alleges that Mead spent hundreds of hours training firearms and special forces, but little on methods of de-escalating violence, despite poor performances as a deputy, including being placed in a “no-contact status with prisoners” during almost four years. The lawsuit did not specify the reasons for the placement.

The Franklin County Attorney’s Office, representing the sheriff’s office, will not comment on the unfinished lawsuits, spokeswoman Kayla Merchant said.

While the shooting did not involve Columbus police, it came at a time of heightened tension compared to previous shootings of black officers by officers in the Ohio capital, worsening less than three weeks later when a white Columbus policeman shot and killed the 47-year-old, Andre Hill said leaving a garage with mobile phone.

The officer, Adam Coy, who was subsequently fired, pleaded not guilty to murder and is due to stand trial next year.

The Goodson shooting was followed by massive protests, with people shouting “Justice for Casey” as they blocked the streets in the city center.

Mead retired on July 2 due to his disability. After the shooting, the deputy was on administrative leave from the sheriff’s office.

Sheriff Dallas Baldwin previously stated that the autopsy “did not provide all the necessary facts” and that he would wait until the criminal investigation was completed before taking any disciplinary action against Mead.

Baldwin said Thursday that he asked his staff to reconsider the investigation when possible to see what the agency might find out.

“This office has a professional duty to do everything in its power to ensure the safety of the community and our MPs,” he said in a statement. “As I said from the very beginning, I pray for everyone involved in this tragedy.”

In June, Franklin County Attorney Gary Tyke appointed two external attorneys to investigate, as the County Attorney’s Office is acting as the sheriff’s legal counsel and assumes that the county and law enforcement will have to be protected in this case.

Andrew Welch-Huggins

Associated Press

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