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Congresswoman Joyce Beatty

Representing the 3rd District of Ohio

Protests continue Saturday to demand justice in shooting of Casey Goodson Jr.

Dec 11, 2020
News Articles

Peaceful protests continued at the Ohio Statehouse on Saturday, with about 250 people marching to demand justice for Casey Goodson Jr.

The protests started about noon and featured several speakers, including Goodson's mother, who also spoke Friday night and urged the protesters to remain peaceful, but to demand justice.

Crowds gather in front of the Ohio Statehouse on Saturday. Protestors were calling for justice for Casey Goodson Jr. who was fatally shot by sheriff's SWAT deputy Jason Meade on Dec. 4.

Saturday's protest was organized by the Black Abolitionist Collective of Ohio and the People's Justice Project, according to social media.

One of the more emotional speakers was Melissa St. Clair, who had Goodson in class at Clinton Elementary as a sixth-grader in 2006-07.

St. Clair said Goodson was a “helper” who showed compassion as a child and who kept in touch with her over the years.

When she heard of Goodson’s death, she said, her voice breaking, “I knew they got this one wrong.”

There was a small group of white men armed with long guns on the outskirts of the gathering, but one of them, Henry Locke of Frazeysburg, Ohio, said they were not there to instigate, but to guard against other groups who might want to cause trouble.

On Friday night, Daliah Davis and Anna Trubiano carried large photos of Goodson as they marched side-by-side down High Street on Friday night.

They didn’t know 23-year-old Goodson, a Black man fatally shot one week ago, on Dec. 4, by a Franklin County sheriff's deputy.

But every day, they worry that their young, Black sons may meet the same fate.

“It’s been my fear since he was 13 years old,” Davis said. “I can’t go to bed until I know he’s home, that he’s walked through that door.”

Her son is now 21, and the 48-year-old mother from the Southeast Side said her feelings haven’t changed.

“He’s the kindest, sweetest, most gentle person you’ll meet," Davis said. "But some people see him as a threat, just because of the color of his skin.”

The mothers were among hundreds of protesters who marched through Downtown on Friday night demanding justice for Goodson. The crowd blocked traffic near the Ohio Statehouse while chanting “No justice, no peace, no racist police” and “No more murder, Black Lives Matter.”

Trubiano, 47, of Newark, said coming to show support was “the right thing to do, as human beings.”

"Her child is now a hashtag," Davis said, of Goodson's mother.

Protesters gathered Downtown outside of the Franklin County Sheriff's Office building on Friday. They were calling for justice for Casey Goodson Jr.,  who was fatally shot by sheriff's SWAT deputy Jason Meade on December 4.

The demonstration kicked off at 6 p.m. with a prayer led by an organizer and brief remarks from U.S. Rep. Joyce Beatty in front of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office building on South High Street.

“Tonight has to be the end,” Beatty said. “Casey’s name has to be the last.”

Beatty said she has written a letter to president-elect Joe Biden regarding the case, which the FBI is investigating.

People then headed north on High Street, where it stopped briefly at the Ohio Statehouse and the crowd continued to grow. Protesters stopped in the middle of High and Gay streets for some formal remarks — including from Goodson's mother, Tamala Payne — and then moved north again. They looped near the Columbus Division of Police building, Columbus City Hall and the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office building again before ending at the Ohio Statehouse.

By 10 p.m. the crowd had mostly dispersed.

For about three hours, they flew Black Lives Matter flags and shouted Goodson’s name as drivers honked horns to show support.

The crowd also chanted “lock him up,” in reference to Jason Meade, the sheriff’s SWAT deputy who fatally shot Goodson at his home in the Northland area on the city's Northeast Side. Many protesters held signs and made comments calling for his arrest.

Others called for Franklin County deputies to be outfitted with body cameras — something they don't currently wear but that the county Board of Commissioners pushed for this week.

There were no eye witnesses to Goodson's shooting and law enforcement and Goodson's family have offered conflicting accounts of what occurred.

After the shooting, Tobin said Goodson waved a handgun at Meade, who was in an unmarked vehicle. Meade and a U.S. Marshal's task force he was part of were in the area because they had unsuccessfully searched for a fugitive who wasn't Goodson.

But in Tobin's statement late Friday, he said that when he gave details of the case it was based on "insufficient information" he received about the investigation and that it was premature for him to give any facts or conclusions about the case.

Meade confronted Goodson, who by this point had gotten out of his vehicle, and ordered him to drop the gun. Goodson did not comply and Meade shot him, authorities said.

Goodson's family said he had a concealed-carry permit for his gun and that the story about him waving a gun doesn't add up. Goodson was returning from the dentist in his grandmother's car and had picked up Subway sandwiches for himself and others. He was opening the door to the residence, they said.

Protests continue Saturday to demand justice in shooting of Casey Goodson Jr.

Goodson's mother, Payne, said she doesn't want violence at this weekend's protests.

"We are here to take a stand for Casey because he was murdered. And he was murdered by the hands of law enforcement," Payne said Friday.

"We cannot fight evil with evil. That's what's wrong with the world now. That's why Casey is no longer with us, because an evil soul took his life for nothing."

She spoke from the center of the crowd Friday, while protesters holding cardboard shields lined with foil guarded the group's perimeter. The other side of the shields were painted rainbow colors, spelling “Casey Goodson" in foil cutouts.

"I want this process to be done in order and in peace and in unity. My son was a peaceful man," Payne continued. "He believed in peace. He believed in love and he believed in unity. And everything done in Casey's name will be done in that way or you are not welcome."

Those involved Friday appeared to obey her wishes. Columbus police cruisers prevented traffic from entering High Street, but largely avoided confronting the protesters.

In some areas, such as Front Street, protesters marched between thru-traffic vehicles and Central Ohio Transit Authority buses. Near the Statehouse, they drove vehicles with protesters hanging out windows and standing on them while a pair of motorcycles did burnouts to block traffic.

Tamala Payne, mother of Casey Goodson Jr. speaks to protesters gathered Downtown on Friday. They were calling for justice for Goodson, who was fatally shot by sheriff's SWAT deputy Jason Meade on December 4.

Columbus police spokesman Sgt. James Fuqua told the Dispatch there were no major issues related to the protests. The division's Friday night watch commander did not immediately respond to a message asking if any arrests had been made.

Mark Collins, a local attorney who is representing Meade, released a statement Thursday saying his client acted properly under the circumstances. The Franklin County Sheriff's Office has said Meade is on administrative leave, as is policy in deputy-involved shootings, and is not currently working any patrol job.

The investigation into Goodson's death is ongoing.

Columbus police's Critical Incident Response Team and the FBI are conducting concurrent investigations with the U.S. Department of Justice assisting. Police will investigate whether Meade was justified in shooting Goodson and the FBI will determine whether any federal civil rights laws were violated.

But some at Friday's protest questioned the authenticity of the investigation.

Protesters gathered in Downtown outside of the Franklin County Sheriff's Office building on Friday.

Friday afternoon, Columbus Mayor Andrew J. Ginther released a statement criticizing Peter Tobin, the U.S. Marshal for the Southern District of Ohio, who said at a news conference just hours after the fatal shooting that it appeared the shooting was justified.

"He was wrong to make a statement, and his words were inappropriate, uninformed and damaged the public’s trust in the investigation," it said.

Later Friday, Tobin released his own statement, saying his comments were premature.

It also said no one with the U.S. Marshal's task force was at the scene of the fatal shooting and "the officer was acting on his own and in his independent authority" when it happened.

Franklin County Sheriff Dallas Baldwin posted a video statement on Twitter, in which he said he met recently with pastors and civic leaders from the city.

"I listened very carefully as they told me about their pain and their frustration from within their own congregations. We pray together and we ask for peace, healing and unity within the communities," Baldwin said. "We all agree we want the community to protest peacefully. This is a very difficult and painful time for everybody involved, but I trust the independent investigation being conducted by the FBI will, in time, provide all the answers that we are looking for."

Columbus Police Chief Thomas Quinlan emailed a statement Friday about the protests with a "personal commitment that we are here to facilitate a safe, peaceful opportunity for all voices to be heard."

It said all officers on site will be wearing body cameras and uniformed officers will have badge numbers visible.

This article was originally published by The Columbus Dispatch on December 11, 2020.