Casey Goodson, A policeman and Adrienne Hood

Is the Blue wall of silence amongst local law enforcement protecting Jason Meade, the Franklin County Sheriff deputy who killed Casey Goodson? A recent traffic stop by Columbus police officers – stopping the son of Adrienne Hood, no less – may offer clues to just that.

Speculation from activists says it’s not plausible that Meade approached and killed Casey Goodson alone. He was part of a federal task force which included local law enforcement. Law enforcement is trained to make arrests in groups. They call for back up and rarely confront individuals on their own.

Again, it’s just speculation, there’s no bodycam footage of Casey Goodson’s death because no policy was in place. Yet the community is too familiar with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office or the Columbus Division of Police’s failure to police themselves, or put no one above the law, as their oath demands. Even Mayor Ginther is now admitting that officers may refuse to report on other officers, and that many fear retaliation if they do, as the Free Press reported last week.

A traffic stop on April 15 in Columbus involved several officers, and Adrienne Hood herself was also present. Hood is the mother of Henry Green, who was killed by two plainclothes Columbus police officers in 2016, who remain on the force. Hood told the Free Press she cannot speak about the incident as of yet, per her attorney’s request. The video of the traffic stop can be viewed on Casey Goodson’s mother’s Facebook page.

The details of the traffic stop come from Casey Goodson’s family attorney Sean Walton.

“This was an officer, part of several officers who responded to this traffic stop. In the traffic stop, this officer was not directly engaged with Ms. Hood’s son but he decided to approach Ms. Hood and another young woman who was recording,” said Walton the Free Press.

A bystander then told this officer, “We’re recording because no one was recording for Casey Goodson.”

The officer responded: “If Casey did not have a gun and didn’t threaten an officer than maybe he’d still be here.”

They asked the officer if he was at the scene of Goodson’s death. He told them, “yes.” They asked him, “We’re you there when he was shot?”

The officer said, “no.”

Then another officer comes up and says, “I saw [Casey’s] gun.” A Columbus police supervisor then intervenes to end the conversation.

Walton says this traffic stop speaks to the Blue wall of silence and how it influences law enforcement’s treatment of civilians, especially African Americans. The worst kept secret is the unwritten code demanding officers speak in support of other officers while blaming the victim. This traffic stop also speaks to the deviance, arrogance and hypocrisy of the Columbus Division of Police and how it remains steadfast in not changing to the will of the community it’s sworn to serve.

“This officer, when questioned about whether he was there during the shooting, said ‘no,’ but he knows there was a gun involved,” he said. “He ignores the fact that Casey was a legal gun owner who had a concealed carry permit. And he makes this statement to another mother of police violence, Adrienne Hood, who had made it clear earlier in the conversation that her son was killed by police officers a few years ago. It’s important for officers to de-escalate with citizens because they have no idea what kind of trauma people are dealing with. This is Henry Green’s brother and for five years he’s suffered knowing his brother was killed by police.” 

Walton believes the officer in question did not witness Casey’s shooting, but he believes he played some role in the scene investigation that day.

“That raises serious questions about the evidence CPD collected or did not collect. And the fact they have officers who responded on the scene who even five months later do not care that Casey was a law-abiding citizen and all that mattered was that he had a gun,” he said. “It shows a repeat pattern with the Columbus Division of Police that they come to their own conclusion and they investigate backwards from there.”

Walton says they have submitted a complaint to the City of Columbus on behalf of Casey’s mother, Tamala Payne, regarding the officer’s statements and that this officer may have played some role in the investigation into Casey’s death.

Walton wants the community to know neither the Columbus Division of Police or the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) have an active or significant role in Casey’s investigation. The Department of Justice is leading the investigation.  

“We do not have any confidence in a police-involved shooting investigation led by the Division,” he said.

It’s been five months since Casey’s death, and the Franklin County Coroner’s Office labeled it a homicide. He was shot six times from behind. He had a sandwich in his hands. His keys were in his door because every indication suggests he was calmly entering his home. Yet Jason Meade (as we all know) remains free, but not on duty.

“I can’t speak to why it’s taking so long. But what I can say is we have no choice but to put our faith in the Department of Justice and believe they are doing everything possible that they can present all the evidence to a grand jury, and to do so in way that allows that grand jury to understand that Casey was murdered on December 4, 2020,” Walton stated.