Feds investigating after Ohio man fatally shot by deputy
Federal authorities announced Tuesday that they will be reviewing the shooting case of Casey Goodson, a Black man killed in Ohio last week, after local officials said Goodson was shot by a deputy involved in a search for violent offenders despite not being a target.
David DeVillers, U.S. Attorney for Southern District of Ohio, said in a statement that his office will be working with the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, as well as the Cincinnati Division of the FBI and the Columbus Division of Police, as part of the review.
He added the officials "take appropriate action if the evidence indicates any federal civil rights laws were violated."
Goodson was fatally shot by a Franklin County Sheriff's deputy, identified by local authorities as Jason Meade, in Columbus on Friday. At the time, Meade had been working as a member of a U.S. Marshals Task Force focused on violent offenders, the Columbus Division of Police said in a statement Sunday.
During an operation, the agency said the deputy "reported witnessing a man with a gun."
"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," the agency said, 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.
Toobin reportedly claimed the deputy confronted the man not long after the alleged display and the man was ordered to drop the gun after exiting his car. 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.
"Casey was not a target of that task force and his death is completely unrelated to that investigation," Law firm Walton + Brown, which is representing Goodson's family, said in a statement over the weekend.
"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," it continued.
Goodson, the firm said, had been "shot and killed as he unlocked his door and entered his home." The firm 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."
The Columbus Division of Police said no body camera footage was recorded during the shooting, noting the task force officers "are not issued body cameras."
The firm representing Goodson's family said he was "licensed to carry a concealed weapon and Ohio does not prohibit the open carrying of firearms." The family is demanding answers after the shooting.
"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.
Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio), who was recently elected the next chair of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), joined calls on Tuesday for justice in the shooting case after it sparked a local protest.
"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," she said in a statement.
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 will 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."