Joyce Beatty with Casey Goodson photo on her face

In the wake of Casey Goodson’s autopsy report being made public by his family’s attorney on Wednesday, March 17, the local arm of the Blackout Coalition is demanding Representative Joyce Beatty – arguably Central Ohio’s most politically influential African American – to call for deputy Jason Meade’s arrest and do so this coming Tuesday when she meets with President Joe Biden in Columbus.  

Murder suspects have been arrested on far less evidence. The Department of Justice, the FBI and the Columbus Division of Police are investigating the shooting.

“Looks like your Democratic friends don’t care about Black lives,” stated the Blackout Coalition on Twitter Wednesday night. “Prove us wrong. Joe Biden will be in your city (Columbus) on Tuesday, March 23. Will you publicly demand the immediate arrest of MURDERER Jason Meade or just smile and do a photo-op with Joe Biden?”

The autopsy report reveals that 23-year-old Goodson was shot five times in the back and one time in buttock. The autopsy also revealed Goodson had nicotine and cannabinoids in his system, as our local broadcast news stations reported.

The Free Press reported in December that deputy Meade, also a part-time evangelical pastor, told an audience of fellow pastors and law enforcement at a Baptist conference, “I work for the Sheriff’s office…I hunt people – it’s a great job, I love it.”

Meade’s statements on how he should enforce the law continued, “And I learned long ago why I’m justified in throwing the first punch. Don’t look up here like ‘oh police brutality.’”

Meade is currently on administrative leave, as his boss, Franklin County Sheriff Dallas Baldwin seemingly continues to dismiss any evidence or the community’s need for Meade to be held accountable. Baldwin, in a statement on Wednesday, said, “The coroner’s report today doesn’t provide all of the facts needed to give us those answers. Physical and forensic evidence from the scene, as well as statements from any witnesses, will be crucial in providing the clearest picture of what happened.”

Baldwin’s statement does not make sense in its entirety because it has been reported by Columbus police that “no other officers witnessed the shooting” and “no civilian eyewitnesses have been identified.”

Perhaps the one local office holder saying what needs to be said is Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther, even though many activists question where his heart is on the matter of police reform. Wednesday night on Twitter he stated, “The autopsy results of Casey Goodson, Jr. are the last piece of the investigation prosecutors were waiting for. It is time for a grand jury to examine the evidence and move toward justice and accountability in this tragic death.”

Rep. Beatty, chair of the powerful Congressional Black Caucus, helped introduce the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act in late February. During the legislation’s introduction Rep. Beatty mentioned Goodson.

“We cannot bring back George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Andre Hill, Casey Goodson, Jr., or the countless men and women who have died or been injured senselessly by law enforcement, but we can prevent similar tragedies in the future,” Beatty said. “The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act will do precisely that by guaranteeing transparency and accountability from the very people sworn to protect and serve all Americans – and at the same time ensure justice for every one of us.”

She continued, “That is why I am proud to cosponsor this much-needed, long overdue bill and have made its passage a top priority for the Congressional Black Caucus.” 

As Ohio activists and progressives know, Rep. Beatty was influential in bringing payday-loan stores (ie, predatory-lending loan sharks) to Ohio’s urban communities, her husband being a lobbyist for CheckSmart at the time. So, her efforts for police reform may or may not be genuine.

If enacted into law, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act would:

  • Prohibit federal, state, and local law enforcement from racial, religious, and discriminatory profiling and mandate training on racial, religious, and discriminatory profiling for all law enforcement.
  • Ban chokeholds, carotid holds, and no-knock warrants at the federal level and limit the transfer of military-grade equipment to state and local law enforcement.
  • Mandate the use of dashboard cameras and body cameras for federal officers and require state and local law enforcement to use existing federal funds to ensure the use of police body cameras.
  • Establish a National Police Misconduct Registry to prevent problematic officers who are fired or leave an agency from moving to another jurisdiction without any accountability.
  • Amend federal criminal statute from ‘willfulness’ to a ‘recklessness’ standard to successfully identify and prosecute police misconduct.
  • Create public safety innovation grants for community-based organizations to create local commissions and task forces to help communities to re-imagine and develop concrete, just and equitable public safety approaches.
  • Develop law enforcement training programs to institute best practices and require the creation of law enforcement accreditation standard recommendations based on former President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing.
  • Reform qualified immunity so that individuals are not barred from recovering damages when police violate their constitutional rights.
  • Require state and local law enforcement agencies to report use of force data, disaggregated by race, sex, disability, religion and age.
  • Improve the use of pattern and practice investigations at the federal level by granting the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division subpoena power and create a grant program for state attorneys general to develop authority to conduct independent investigations into problematic police departments.
  • Set up a Department of Justice task force to coordinate the investigation, prosecution and enforcement efforts of federal, state and local governments in cases related to law enforcement misconduct.