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Black man shot dead by police while carrying sandwich, family say

Family says Goodson was shot inside his house while he was holding a sandwich, not a gun

Stuti Mishra
Wednesday 09 December 2020 06:46 GMT
The fatal shooting of 23-year-old Goodson by an Ohio sheriff's deputy on Friday, 4 December 2020, is now under investigation by the state’s criminal investigation bureau
The fatal shooting of 23-year-old Goodson by an Ohio sheriff's deputy on Friday, 4 December 2020, is now under investigation by the state’s criminal investigation bureau (AP)
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An Ohio sheriff’s deputy shot and killed a black man who, according to his family, was holding a sandwich and entering his own home at the time, in a case that will be examined by federal investigators.

Casey Goodson was fatally shot on Friday on the north side of Columbus by deputy Jason Meade, a veteran of the Franklin County’s sheriff’s office. 

The family of the 23-year-old has disputed police claims that he was outside the house or holding a gun. They say he was shot in front of two toddlers and his grandmother.

The office of US Attorney David M DeVillers in Ohio said on Tuesday that it would step in and look at the case — along with the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, the FBI in Cincinnati and the Columbus police — after the state attorney general’s office declined to investigate the incident, stating that the police department didn’t ask soon enough.

The case was initially given to city police because the sheriff’s office does not oversee investigations of its own deputies in fatal shootings, and the police department did not release such details as the names of Goodson and the deputy who shot him until Sunday.

Since then, Goodson’s relatives and law enforcement officials have given conflicting details. Visible evidence of the events is lacking because the sheriff’s office does not provide officers with body cameras, and the deputy’s SWAT vehicle did not have a dash-mounted camera.

According to 911 recordings obtained by the Associated Press, Goodson’s grandmother can be heard saying: “My grandson just got shot in the back when he came in the house,” she told a dispatcher.

“I don’t know if he’s OK,” the 73-year-old woman says in a Friday recording.  

Goodson had just gone to the dentist, she told the dispatcher, and she didn’t know what had happened or who shot him.

The attorney of the family Sean Walton told CNN: “Goodson had put his keys into his door before he was shot and fell into the kitchen, where his 5-year-old brother and his 72-year-old grandmother saw him lying on the ground with a Subway sandwich.”

Goodson, an Ohio concealed carry permit holder, was legally armed at the time of the shooting, according to the Columbus Division of Police.

"Goodson was not alleged to have committed any crimes, has no criminal background, and was not the target of any investigation,” Mr Walton said.

The deputy, Jason Meade, a 17-year veteran of the sheriff’s office, had been assigned to a US Marshals Office fugitive task force. The task force had just finished an unsuccessful search for a fugitive on Friday afternoon when Goodson, who was not the suspect, drove by and waved a gun at Mr Meade, according to US Marshal Peter Tobin.

According to Mr Tobin, Mr Meade confronted him outside Goodson’s vehicle in front of the man’s home, contrary to what the family said.

One witness heard Mr Meade command Goodson to drop his gun, and when he didn’t, the deputy shot him, Mr Tobin said. Goodson was taken to a hospital, where he died.

Mr Tobin’s narrative leaves out “key details that raise cause for extreme concern,” the attorneys’ statement reads, including the object Goodson was holding. Police say it was a gun that was later recovered from the scene; Goodson’s family says he was holding a Subway sandwich.

“At this point, witness testimony and physical evidence raise serious concerns about why Casey was even confronted, let alone why he was shot dead while entering his own home,” the lawyers added. 

Several protests are planned in the city by civil rights activists and the black community against the killing. 

Goodson’s killing is another addition to the long list of black men who have lost their lives in fatal shootings by the police. According to data published by The Washington Post and CBS news, 164 Black men and women were killed by the police in the US from 1 January to 31 August 2020. Many of the cases remain under investigation. 

Additional reporting by agencies

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