Franklin County Deputy's Lawyer Says Casey Goodson Jr. Pointed Gun
A lawyer for Franklin County Sheriff's Deputy Jason Meade claims Casey Goodson Jr. pointed a gun at the deputy during the encounter preceding Goodson's killing last Friday.
The statement released Thursday marks the first public comment providing Meade's perspective on Goodson's death, which is the subject of both federal and local investigations.
"Mr. Goodson pointed his gun at Deputy Meade," lawyer Mark Collins said in a press release. "There has been confirmation that our client gave verbal commands for Mr. Goodson to drop the gun."
It is unclear how that confirmation was gleaned, as authorities say no eye-witnesses have come forward about the conversation. WOSU requested clarification from the law firm.
Collins' statement comes soon after Goodson's mother and her lawyers held a press conference calling for Meade to be removed from duty, arrested and charged with murder.
“[Casey] was just a Black man coming home from a dentist’s appointment,” said Tamala Payne, Goodson’s mother. "He didn’t do anything. And he was killed and murdered, cold-bloodedly, in a violent manner.”
Meade was conducting a search in the Northland area of Columbus as part of a U.S. Marshal Service Fugitive Task Force when officers encountered Goodson, who was neither the suspect they were looking for nor the subject of any investigation. Goodson’s family alleges that he was shot in the back while entering his home, carrying a bag of sandwiches for his grandmother and brother.
“Casey is not a suspect in any way shape or form,” said Sean Walton, a lawyer for Goodson's family. “Casey is someone who was killed on his kitchen floor simply because he is a Black man and his skin was weaponized.”
However, Collins said that Goodson threatened Meade by brandishing a gun, and rejected rumors that Meade mistook a sandwich for a weapon.
"The standards outlined in the United States Supreme Court Graham v. Connor, set forth the parameters regarding the use of lethal force," the release states. "An officer must believe that he or she is in fear of imminent serious physical injury or death."
Goodson possessed an up-to-date concealed carry license, and his family said he was eager to educate others about gun safety and laws. Although authorities say they recovered Goodson's gun at the scene, family members who were home at the time say they did not see a gun on or near his body.
A preliminary autopsy report released Wednesday by the Franklin County Coroner found Goodson died from multiple gunshots to the torso, and ruled his death a homicide. A full autopsy will be released in 12-14 weeks, and Goodson's family says they will commission an independent autopsy as well.
"Last Friday, a mother lost a son, and siblings lost a brother based on the actions of our client while on duty," Meade's lawyer says. "We, too, share in the frustration and heartbreak with the family’s loss, and as a parent, I cannot fathom losing a child. Our hearts go out to the family."
Columbus Police are investigating Goodson's death, and the U.S. Justice Department is conducting a review of the case to determine if federal civil rights laws were violated in his killing.
Collins says that authorities have the "full cooperation" of Meade.
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