Police firing guns

The snow had just finished melting and he had picked up a sandwich from Subway on his way home where his family was waiting his return.

His keys were in the door, with the sandwich and a mask in hand, when he was allegedly shot in the back three times by Franklin County Sheriff deputy Jason Meade. Goodson’s five-year old brother found him lying on the floor in his kitchen.

The latest local officer-involved shooting highlights a disconnect between and inside city leadership and law enforcement. Both claiming to want to earn trust while protecting and serving the community, yet when faced with something like the killing of Casey Goodson, these goals appear to be abandoned. Not only because another Columbus resident has been killed by police, but also the messy investigation of his death that has followed.

The Investigation

Casey’s death was originally being investigated by the Columbus Police even though, since Mayor Ginther signed an Executive Order this summer, fatal encounters with law enforcement are required by City of Columbus law to be investigated by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI).

“On July 12, Mayor Ginther signed an executive order stating all police shootings would be investigated by the BCI. This is unacceptable. He should man up and keep his word,” said De-Escalate Ohio’s director Cynthia Brown to the Free Press.

Back in July Mayor Ginther said, “Third-party, independent investigations into police use of force are critical to building trust in law enforcement, and having BCI conduct investigations will be critical to restoring confidence in the Columbus Division of Police.”  

Activists have been telling the Free Press for months how local law enforcement and their union have manipulated contracts with the city to the point where the Mayor and City Council have yielded most investigative and disciplinary powers to commanding officers who have resisted initiatives put forth by city leadership and the community.

Three days after the shooting, the Columbus police handed the investigation to BCI, who initially accepted, but then handed the case back to Columbus police claiming three days was too long of a gap to investigate the scene of the shooting.

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost then agreed to accept Columbus officer-involved shootings referred to BCI.

“This is an important step toward implementing the Community Safety Advisory Commission recommendations, and will ensure that incidents involving the loss of life will be fully investigated.”

The BCI’s back-and-forth has sewed more confusion and doubt into an already tragic situation for Goodson’s family.

Now, after all of the turmoil with BCI, and unlike past local officer-involved shootings, the US Attorney’s Office, the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, the FBI’s Cincinnati office and the Columbus Division of Police announced on Tuesday they will “review the facts and circumstances surrounding the shooting of Casey Goodson…(And) take appropriate action if the evidence indicates any federal civil rights laws were violated,” they said in a press release.

Double Standards

A 17-year veteran of the department and a Sheriff’s deputy assigned to the US Marshals Service fugitive task force, Jason Meade, claims he saw Goodson waving a gun in his car after the task force was on an unsuccessful search for a suspect. 

The Free Press has learned from a former mentor of Goodson’s that he was a gun enthusiast with a concealed carry permit. A gun was found on the scene of his death, but there’s been no specification of where it was found; whether it was on his person, in his car or somewhere safe in the house.

Even though Ohio is an open-carry state Columbus police officers have used “showing a gun” as a justification of confrontation before.

During the George Floyd protests over the summer CPD arrested 22-year-old Nathaniel Ray Shepherd Jr. for allegedly waving a gun from his car. But Shepard Jr. (and Goodson) had a license to carry their gun(s).

Still, Nathaniel was pursued, arrested and charged with felony failure to comply with an order or signal of a police officer and Columbus police posted images of his guns online as if it were a big bust (nothing like this ever happened to the right-wing protestors toting assault rifles, even when one shot at a truck driver on the highway).

After paying $5,085 in fees and bonds, Nathaniel’s charges were dismissed.

Henry Green was killed by plain-clothes Columbus police in a similar incident in which officers with histories of excessive force saw Green carrying a gun, again, not illegal in Ohio, before pursuing and firing on Green who was walking home with a friend. Goodson was killed for the same non-crime of allegedly carrying a gun with a concealed-carry permit.

Casey’s tragic death highlights a “double standard” for officer confrontations. For Casey, a sandwich could be seen as a weapon, a threat to an officer’s life, while assault rifles toted in public, like the ones carried by right-wing militias, are nothing to worry about. The main difference between the two cannot of course go unnoticed; that being their race.

Red Flags

A now deleted 2017 blog post said that deputy Meade, the officer who killed Casey Goodson, was a local pastor at a Baptist church and served in Iraq in 2005 in the Marines.

No information has been released on Meade’s history, but most cases of police shootings in Columbus show officers involved are usually repeat offenders with a paper trail of excessive force and other red flags that departments ignored or responded to with slaps on the wrist. 

The family and the law firm Walton & Brown representing Goodson’s family have raised many concerns with Meade’s account of the shooting in the face of contradicting evidence. Walton & Brown said in a statement no crimes were alleged to be committed by Goodson who didn’t have a criminal background and wasn’t the target of an investigation.

Walton & Brown said, “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.”

This is only the latest incident for Franklin county sheriff deputies. In June of 2020 two deputies were put on administrative leave and another under investigation for violating social media policy after making a TikTok showing a deputy David Mink drinking alcohol next to a sniper rifle with text saying “When the looters and rioters threaten to come to the suburbs”.

Last December there were two separate investigations in the same month. Deputy Rodnetta Jones was investigated for crashing a sheriff’s office vehicle, later found to be drinking and driving. Then deputy Sgt. David Aurigemma went under investigation after Columbus police pulled him over twice in the same night finding a prostitute in the vehicle. It was uncovered he had an extensive history of misconduct on duty with little to no discipline. 

Goodson’s family and local activists are calling for body camera footage and police reports to be released along with an independent autopsy report and an independent investigation.

However, Franklin county deputies don’t wear body cameras and the investigation is already raising suspicion. Moreover, since Meade was under the Sheriff’s office, not Columbus police, the incident doesn’t fall under the new civilian review board’s purview.


Monday marked two years since Julius Tate’s death, who was killed by Columbus police during a sting operation, as his family held a gathering to commemorate his life.

It was also the birthday of Tyre King who would’ve turned 18 years old, but was killed by Columbus police in 2016 at age 13.

Vigils have been held for Casey Goodson over the past few days and a rally will take place at 12 pm Saturday, December 12 at the Ohio Statehouse.

Protestors will be calling for a transparent and honest investigation into Goodson’s untimely death and for justice for all who have lost their lives and been denied justice by the city of Columbus and its police force.