A former police officer in Columbus, Ohio, has been indicted on murder charges stemming from the shooting of a young Black man after apparently confusing his bag of sandwiches for a gun nearly one year ago.
A grand jury on Thursday brought down the indictment against former Franklin County Sheriff’s Office deputy Jason Meade, who shot Casey Goodman Jr. six times, including five times in the back, on Dec. 4, 2020. Meade, 44, was formally charged with two counts of murder and one count of reckless homicide in the shooting on Dec. 4, 2020, the Columbus Post-Dispatch reported.
Goodson, 23, was reportedly inside his home or right in front while holding sandwiches when he was fatally shot in front of his mother and two toddlers. Police maintained Goodson was outside of his home and tried to justify the lethal force because they somehow mistook the sandwiches for a gun.
Goodson’s mother, Tamala Payne, said his autopsy results show he was struck six times from behind with a “high-powered rifle.”
The U.S. Marshal for the Southern District of Ohio was quick to justify the shooting and maintained that Meade gave Goodson a command to drop a gun he was accused of waving at an officer as he drove home returning from a trip to the dentist.
Police say they recovered a gun, but Goodson’s family said he is licensed to carry one and doubted he would just brandish it at law enforcement. Instead, they say, he was carrying a bag of sandwiches from Subway when he was shot in the back and fell into his home with his keys still dangling in the door’s lock.
More than two months after the shooting, Franklin County Sheriff Dallas Baldwin downplayed Goodson being shot in the back, insisting that “criminal investigations over the years have shown that the physical location of gunshot wounds alone don’t always tell the entire story of what happened.”
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost declined to take up the case because he said Columbus police took three days to bring the case to their attention. Columbus police also waited two days before they officially identified Goodson as the victim.
Payne previously claimed the police had changed stories multiple times, prompting suspicion of some kind of a coverup.
“My son was murdered in cold blood, and we don’t have no answers as to why he was murdered,” she said less than a week after his shooting. “It is not a question to me at all at this time if my son was murdered or not.”
Goodman’s shooting was the first of three high-profile police killings of Black people in Columbus in instances of preventable violence for which no members of law enforcement have been held accountable. Thursday’s indictment was one step closer to reversing that fact.
Less than three weeks after Meade gunned down Goodson, Columbus Police Officer Adam Coy shot and killed Andre’ Hill within seconds of seeing him emerge from a dark garage. The shooting in the early morning hours of Dec. 22 was recorded on bodycam that showed Coy likely racially profiled Hill — a 47-year-old Black man — when he inexplicably mistook a cellphone for a gun.
A little more than a month after that, Columbus Police Chief Thomas Quinlan was demoted before resigning. Days later, Coy was charged with murder, felonious assault and dereliction of duty for failure to inform his fellow officer that he felt threatened. Additional bodycam footage showed that Hill laid on the ground for roughly 10 minutes before officers attempted chest compressions, leading to suspicions that his life could have been saved had legally required action been taken sooner.
A few months later, the Columbus Police Department found itself back in a similar scenario after one of its officers gunned down 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant on April 20 — the same day a hurry convicted Derek Chauvin of murdering George Floyd.
Ma’Khia was shot and killed after Columbus Police Officer Nicholas Reardon responded to a call alleging there was a violent disturbance at a local residence. There have been conflicting accounts over whether Ma’Khia called 911 since she was allegedly the target of physical threats on the day of the incident. Reardon’s camera captured Ma’Khia’s last moments, where she can be seen lunging towards a woman with a knife. Reardon fired four times after commanding Ma’Khia to put down the knife, striking Ma’Khia to the ground. The case went to a grand jury in July. As on Thursday, Reardon had not been indicted for Bryant’s death.
This is a developing story that will be updated as additional information becomes available.