Casey Goodson Jr., Reaction
Updated: Feb 24, 2021
UPDATE: Autopsy results, according to Casey Goodson Jr.'s family, show he was shot 5 times in the back mid-torso, and once in the lower back, with a high powered rifle.
Original Article... On December 4th Casey Goodson Jr. (23) was shot by Sheriff’s Deputy Jason Meade at the entrance of his home in Columbus, Ohio. He fell into his kitchen and died on the floor.
There are a few narratives worth talking about here. It’s likely that for some this is the first time you’re hearing about Casey Goodson Jr., or you’re unaware of the protests following his death, and both those things are worth exploring. There’s also the obvious conversation surrounding these incidents related to law enforcement practices in America.
To start however I wanted to simply tell the story from the conflicting perspectives of the officer and Casey Goodson Jr.
Law Enforcement Narrative
Sheriff’s Deputy Jason Meade, a 17-year veteran, was working for the US Marshal’s fugitive task force at the time of the shooting.
His job was to find violent offenders, fugitives from the law that need to be brought in. I have to imagine it is an incredibly dangerous job.
He had previously been a member of a SWAT team and had fired his weapon in the line of duty before, but there are no records of him ever shooting anyone.
All indications are that Officer Meade was a good cop who did his job well for 17 years.
According to the US Marshal for the Southern District of Ohio, Officer Meade was wrapping up an unrelated investigation when a deputy saw a man "driving down the street waving a gun." Officer Meade and 2 other officers followed the individual to a nearby home.
When Officer Meade confronted the man (Casey Goodson Jr.) a verbal interaction started, but the details that have been released to this point are limited. Lawyers for the officer claim that, “there has been confirmation that [Officer Meade] gave verbal commands to Mr. Goodson to drop the gun.”
Officer Meade claims that Casey Goodson Jr. started to pull a firearm, causing the officer to draw his weapon and shoot. There is some grey area here as in other reports the claim is that Casey Goodson Jr. pointed the gun at Officer Meade. Either way, by all Officer accounts, Casey Goodson either reached for or had his weapon in hand at the time of the shooting.
Most of this information is based on a statement Officer Meade released through is attorneys about a week after the event. Officer Meade feared for his life and fired his weapon in self-defense.
None of the officers involved were wearing body cams, and there is no alternative video footage available of the incident.
Casey Goodson Jr.’s Narrative
Casey Goodson Jr. was a 23 year old man who lived in Columbus, Ohio. He had a job and did not have any criminal record.
He had a legal permit for a weapon he carried in self-defense, and it's worth noting that Ohio is an open carry state.
Casey Goodson Jr. was on his way home from a dentist appointment, stopping at Subway along the way to get sandwiches for himself, his 5-year-old brother, and his 72-year-old Grandmother. None of that is disputed.
He was confronted at the doorstep of his home by 3 armed men in plain clothes, one of which was holding either a shotgun or rifle. The men had arrived in an unmarked vehicle.
A neighbor, Andrew Weeks, ran to his window when he heard shouting and a burst of gunfire. Andrew saw the 3 armed men outside of Casey Goodson Jr.’s home and called the police. Andrew Weeks was unaware that they were law enforcement because the men were not dressed in a manner that indicated they were police officers.
Nobody saw the interaction between Casey Goodson and law enforcement, but in that time Casey Goodson Jr. was able to get his keys in the lock, unlock the door, and open the door all while holding a bag of Subway sandwiches, before or while being shot multiple times in the torso.
His keys remained in the door as he died on his kitchen floor where his 5-year-old brother and Grandmother found him.
The complete autopsy has not yet been released, but the Franklin County Coroner, Dr. Anahi Ortiz, issued this statement, “based on findings from the autopsy and medical death investigation, manner of death is homicide.”
Lawyers for the family of Casey Goodson Jr. who have seen elements of the coroner’s report claim it’s clear that Casey Goodson Jr. was shot in the back. I haven’t been able to find any statements made to the contrary by law enforcement or the lawyers of Officer Meade.
My Take On What Probably Happened
There is no video, so we'll never know what actually happened.
I personally find it hard to believe that a law abiding citizen just randomly decided to wave a gun at a group of men while he drove by on his way home from the dentist. I am a gun owner, I've never felt compelled to draw my firearm and wave it at people randomly while driving around my neighborhood.
I'd guess that the officers wanted to question some people who lived in the neighborhood in relation to their effort to catch the fugitive they were looking for. They confronted Casey Goodson to ask him questions, and when it ended in his death they scrambled to find a better reason to have escalated the situation and that's what they came up with.
Reinforcing the idea that officers aren't acting in good faith is the fact that they did not immediately follow protocol in the event of an officer involved shooting.
The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI), the state agency that typically investigates police-involved shootings, refused to accept the case siting that, "We received a referral to take a three-day old officer-involved shooting case. Not knowing all the reasons as to why so much time has passed before the case was referred to BCI, we cannot accept this case.”
The department dragged their feet, to the point where the BCI wouldn't take the case. This is an organization that exists to investigate things like this, they're usually called to the scene to start their investigation in near-real-time.
Immediately following the shooting, a US Marshal asserted that Officer Meade’s shooting of Casey Goodson Jr. was “justified," but he was forced to later pull his statement back calling it “premature.”
You've got officers dragging their feet on submitting the case to the BCI, and the US Marshal trying to get out ahead of the story declaring it a justified shooting before being forced to pull back that statement. I believe the circumstances warrant a healthy skepticism.
Beyond how it started, how did Casey Goodson end up dead?
One thing we can infer is that it all happened quickly.
Nobody saw the shooting and lived to tell the tale besides the 3 officers involved. Nobody in the area had time to see it, much less get a camera out and film it.
A Neighbor, Andrew Weeks, said he ran to his window when he heard shouting and a burst of gunfire. He is the neighbor who called the police only to be told that he was looking at the police.
It's a poor neighborhood in Columbus, Ohio on a Friday afternoon... in 2020. People are home. It's the pandemic, people are unemployed and home.
You know what everyone does when they hear shouting outside their window? They look. Being a noisy neighbor is a national pass time in America.
You know what people do when they see an argument involving people holding guns? They pull out their phones and film it.
It means that this interaction was so short that the verbal portion of it + the shooting all happened before neighbors could make it to their windows.
In that short time period, according to officers, Casey Goodson Jr. was able to either reach for, or wave his firearm at them (Casey is not accused of firing a shot), fail to respond to verbal commands, unlock his door, open his door, and fall into his home.
Let's take the officers at their word, that Casey Goodson Jr. aimed his weapon at them. Why would he do that?
Answer: He was scared shitless and trying to cover a retreat.
Casey Goodson Jr. didn't know he was being confronted by police officers, there were just 3 guys with guns standing on his front lawn. Even the neighbor, Andrew Weeks, who wasn't under any duress, didn't accurately identify the men as law enforcement when he saw them, he had to be told they were police.
Casey Goodson Jr. was walking up his walkway towards his door, turned to see 3 men with guns screaming at him, showed his weapon to try to scare them away, and when they didn't run he frantically unlocked his door to get inside to safety. He was shot and died in his kitchen.
What's Wrong with this Picture?
The officers could not have known Casey Goodson Jr's intent when he showed/waved his gun. If his hand went to his weapon they have to shoot in that scenario, I don't blame them for shooting at that point.
I do question, vehemently, the logic in confronting someone in a manner that causes an immediate escalation when you're dressed in PLAIN CLOTHES.
Take any middle-America, blue collar, working man that carries, put 3 unidentified armed men on his front lawn, and guess what's going to happen?
They could be shouting "we're the police," do you think it's smart of Joe the Plumber to believe the plainly dressed assailants who arrived in an unmarked vehicle? You think he says, "sorry officers let me trust your word and put my gun down" and everything ends well?
Ohio is an open carry state. Any legal gun owner in Ohio is allowed to have that gun on them, even if it can be seen, and they're definitely allowed shoot at a threat that is on their own property in the name of self defense.
The manner in which the officers opened the interaction should take all this into consideration. The job is heavy, the responsibility rests on the officer to keep the situation from escalating. They failed miserably.
Approaching someone while not in uniform, weapon in hand, is a really great way to get people killed. Their recklessness got Casey Goodson Jr. killed. It should be manslaughter, it'll end up being nothing. Justice will not be served here.
There has to be a better way to do it. It's not an acceptable answer that officers engage in a way that runs this level of risk to innocent American citizens.
Maybe if you're not in uniform you're not allowed to approach someone who isn't directly a target in your investigation. I get why we have undercover cops, but why not wait to have uniformed officers ask questions of innocent neighbors.
Even if the entire officer's story is to be believed, and Casey Goodson Jr. spent his days driving around waving a gun at people randomly, it's still not the right way to handle it. Get a license plate number, send a uniformed officer to the associated address. There is no need for this faux-heroic, Rambo bs chasing people around like you're a cop from GTA.
There were protest marches in Ohio, but nothing burned, so nobody covered them. I get that the perception is that all BLM protests end in looting and riots but they don't.
Here's a complete write-up on those stats: https://www.practicallylibertarian.com/post/peaceful-protests
There's also the lack of video. If there's no video there's no story, which makes you think how many incidents go completely unnoticed by the general public. You have to actively seek out these stories unless they're made for TV with some sweet sweet video footage.
For those that say this is all about race, I get the argument but I'm not 100% there with you. I think that if this was a middle aged white guy wearing a MAGA hat he probably has a better statistical chance of walking away alive, but I'm not convinced that's the main deciding factor here. I think it plays a role, just not THE role.
The more visible racial component here for me rests in the reaction. The NRA has been completely silent. If white, Joe the Plumber dies the NRA issues a statement about the shooting of a legal gun owner immediately, but it was Casey Goodson Jr. so crickets.
Way to adhere to your 2A principles there NRA. For the people that say it's never about race, you sure do act differently when it's a black guy legally carrying who gets shot.
Columbus, Ohio immediately invested additional funds into their body cam program. I'm glad they did it, but it wasn't lack of funding that caused the officers in this incident to not wear a body cam, it was that they were undercover. It's a procedure problem, not an equipment problem.
Nothing will happen to these officers, or the department that helped delay the launch of the investigation. They may see some desk duty, or have to transfer, but they'll go on living their lives relatively unaffected.
Casey Goodson Jr. is dead. One of the earliest memories that his little 5-year-old brother will have is seeing his older brother dead, lying in a pool of blood in their kitchen. They can't afford to move, he will grow up in that house with that memory every time he goes to get a glass of milk. What does that do to that kid?
A common phrase being tossed around recently is that the cure can't be worse than the disease. You can justify some of these police tactics in isolation but at what point do they become a catalyst to the distrust between law enforcement and the community they're supposed to serve? Stay Curious. Please Share.