Last week a Black man was killed in Ohio after being shot by a deputy who was engaged in a hunt for violent offenders. On Tuesday, federal authorities announced that they would be reviewing the shooting case of Casey Goodson.
David DeVillers, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, said in a statement that his office would collaborate as part of the investigation with the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department and the FBI’s Cincinnati Division and the Columbus Division of Police.
He added that officials will “take appropriate action if the evidence indicates any federal civil rights laws were violated.”
Local authorities identified Jason Meade as the Franklin County Sheriff’s deputy who fatally shot Goodson in Columbus on Friday. The Columbus Division of Police said in a statement that at the time, Meade had been working as a member of a U.S. Marshals Task Force which focused on violent offenders.
During an operation, the agency said the deputy “reported witnessing a man with a gun.”
The agency said, “The deputy was investigating the situation, and there are reports of a verbal exchange. The deputy fired at Mr. Casey Goodson, resulting in his death. A gun was recovered from Mr. Goodson,” while also adding that Goodson “was not the person being sought by the U.S. Marshal’s Task Force.”
According to The Columbus Dispatch, the U.S. Marshal for the Southern District of Ohio, Peter Tobin, has offered a similar characterization of the events leading up to the man’s death, claiming the deputy confronted a man who had waved a firearm while driving a vehicle.
Tobin supposedly reported that not long after the alleged display, the deputy approached the man, and the man was told to drop the gun after leaving his vehicle. He said the deputy shot the man after he didn’t drop the firearm.
Lawyers for the man’s family say that Goodson was shot while attempting to enter his home after returning from a dentist appointment with food for his family.
In a statement over the weekend, Goodson’s family rep, Law firm Walton + Brown, said that “Casey was not a target of that task force and his death is completely unrelated to that investigation.” It continued, “While police claim that Casey drove by, waving a gun, and was confronted by the deputy after exiting his vehicle, that narrative leaves out key details that raise cause for extreme concern.”
The firm said that Goodson had been “shot and killed as he unlocked his door and entered his home.” They said his death “was witnessed by his 72-year-old grandmother and two toddlers who were near the door.”
“As Casey lie on the ground dying, the unopened Subway sandwiches that he brought for himself and his family sat next to him in a pool of blood,” the firm said. “Even hours after his death, the keys that he used to let himself in the house as he was shot and killed hung in the door – a reminder to his family of how close he was to safety.”
According to the Columbus Division of Police, no body camera footage was recorded during the shooting. It was noted that task force officers “are not issued body cameras.”
The family is still demanding answers after the shooting. According to the firm representing Goodson’s family, he was “licensed to carry a concealed weapon, and Ohio does not prohibit the open carrying of firearms.”
“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 firm said.
On Tuesday, Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio) joined calls for justice in the shooting case after it sparked a local protest.
She said, “The circumstances surrounding his tragic death are upsetting and extremely unsettling because too many Black men in our community are dying or are the victims of unjustifiable, excessive force from the very people sworn to protect and serve all of us.”
The Columbus Division of Police said over the weekend that the Franklin County coroner will be performing an autopsy for the case. The agency also added that it would be providing “all evidence to the Franklin County Prosecutor who will review the established facts.”
“The prosecutor will present the findings to a civilian grand jury,” it added. “The grand jury will determine whether the shooting was justified.”