Information about protests, policing and policy is quickly changing in Columbus, and can be pretty hard to follow when it moves this fast. That's why we're compiling accounts of protest, footage from the scene and context about what's happening in this article with updates as we get them.
It has been nearly two months since Franklin County Sheriff’s Office deputy Jason Meade shot and killed Casey Goodson Jr., a Black 23-year-old man, in north Columbus.
Protesters and organizers gathered in the freezing and cold weather at Goodale Park on January 30, what would have been Goodson’s 24th birthday.
The day’s event was mostly centered around honoring and celebrating Goodson’s life, whose family did make an appearance. Community members showered the Goodson family with gifts, and those present were encouraged to come up and sign a card for Goodson.
After celebrating and honoring Goodson’s life, the organizers — from People’s Justice Project, the Central Ohio Freedom Fund, Black Abolitionist Collective OH and Showing Up for Racial Justice — hosted a rally in Columbus and marched for two hours, demanding action.
They listed their demands: the Columbus Police Department terminate, arrest, and charge Jason Meade, the officer who shot Goodson, with murder; the revocation of Meade’s pension; clarity regarding this particular police-involved shooting through releasing all audio and video recordings from that night to Tamala Payne, the mother of Goodson; and for the city of Columbus to cover Goodson’s funeral costs.
The organizers further demanded CPD fire deputy chief, Thomas Quinlan, who was recently demoted from police chief to deputy chief. They also demanded Franklin County Sheriff Dallas Baldwin’s resignation and for both county commissioners to divest from the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office and city council to divest from the Columbus police.
Payne spoke at the rally and said that some vital information regarding the incident would be released to the public later this week.
“The shooting was nowhere near justified,” she said about the U.S. Marshalls spokesperson who claimed within hours of the incident that the shooting was justified. “My son was shot multiple times in his back going into his home. There is no justification.”
The event featured the families of police brutality victims in Columbus, the attorney who represented all of those victims, Sean Walton, local artists and legislators.
“First, I would like to say Happy Heavenly Birthday to Casey Goodson Jr.,” Ohio Rep. Erica Crawley said. Crawley next read a resolution that she and Ohio Sen. Hearcel F. Craig introduced, designating Jan. 30th as Casey Goodson Jr. Day.
“State senator Hearcel Craig [and I] are humbled to recognize the day of Jan. 30 as Casey Goodson Jr. Day,” she said. “We mourn and reflect on the loss of Casey Goodson Jr., a Black man, to police violence. We are reminded that it need not be like this.”
It is the community’s duty as a society and people to learn and prevent such instances from happening, Crawley said, adding that we must speak out.
“Enough is truly enough,” she said.
Hanif Abdurraqib, a notable poet and native of Columbus, also started by wishing Goodson a happy birthday. Abdurraqib added that this is an exciting point in time in this country’s history.
“People in power will [mislead the people with the] politics of representation, or the politics of symbolism, or the politics of small incremental changes that do nothing to serve the material needs of the working class,” he said while standing in front of a diverse and growing audience.
“I can’t get too excited about City Hall removing a statue of a genocidal murderer when there are still murderers running free, emptying the cities of its young folks,” he added.
In contrast, the city of Columbus pays them to do so, he said, and these “murderers” are not being held accountable for their actions.
Community members later marched in Victorian Village and the Short North after a celebration and rally at Goodale Park, chanting, “Black Lives Matter,” “Happy Birthday for Casey Goodson Jr.,” and “Make some noise for Casey Goodson Jr.”
Cruisers from the Columbus Division of Police stayed ahead of the march, mainly blocking traffic. There was a brief incident with two officers on foot approaching the vehicle leading the march. They ultimately walked away without words nor a confrontation.
Currently, Meade is off duty and awaits an interview by the CPD regarding the matter.
The crowd was much smaller Saturday afternoon despite multiple planned protests. About 40 people showed up to protest the killing of Casey Goodson.
However, those weren't the only protesters out. Around noon, a group of "Stop the Steal" protesters — who believe the 2020 election was stolen from President Donald Trump — were assembled in front of the statehouse steps. Some protesters later marched around the Statehouse.
As Black Lives Matter protesters began to arrive, conversations between them and the pro-Trump protesters broke out. Some discussions became heated and some did not, but no physical violence broke out.
As the pro-Trump protesters began packing up, the Black Lives Matter protesters moved away from the entrance of the statehouse and began having speakers.
Many of the speakers were not from Columbus, but said they have been involved in actions many times before.
The crowd size nearly doubled after 2:30 p.m., when the Rally for Accountability and Justice for Casey Goodson Jr. converged with another group of protesters who were trying to raise awareness for medical racism affecting the Somalian community.
Sierra Mason, 22, spoke about community care, her experiences lobbying at the Statehouse and state violence against Black people during the demonstration. The Canton native said what motivates her to organize for justice is her daughter.
"I'm here to make a difference so that my daughter can live a better life and have a better future, because she deserves the same rights as your daughter, as our state senator's daughter," Mason said. "At the end of the day, I'm out here for everyone who doesn't have a voice."
Around 4:30 p.m., the combined group of nearly 80 protesters marched southbound on High Street to the Franklin County Courthouse, signs and subs in hand.
Organizers of the downtown protest said a few words before wrapping up the event shortly before 4 pm.
Some members of the crowd lingered, but most people had dispersed by 4:30.
Here's the full video of the second half of protesting:
Organizers led the crowd down several prominent streets downtown, including Broad Street, High Street and Gay Street before taking over an intersection.
Police presence has been consistent throughout the action. Columbus Division of Police had some police vehicles blocking surrounding streets, but the vehicles moved each time the protesters approached.
Organizers asked protesters with shields to create a barrier around the intersection of Broad and High near the statehouse. Folks in the middle of the intersection led chants and songs with the crowd.
Hundreds of protesters gathered for a planned protest that began at noon against police violence and specifically in response to the killing of Casey Goodson.
Organizers, family members and the family's lawyer spoke at the event, sharing similar messages to what they've been saying in past actions and press appearances: Goodson was murdered, he was legally able to carry guns and often preached gun safety to his family, and he was shot because he was Black.
The protest also included a musical performance from a local musician and a symbolic gesture with keys and Subway sandwiches. According to Goodson's family, he was carrying sandwiches for his family and had put his keys into the door when he was shot. Organizers had members of the crowd hold up the sandwich and the keys.
"A subway sandwich and keys cost him his life," organizer Hana Abdur-Rahim said before asking for a moment of silence.
Here's the full video of the first couple hours of the event:
Protesters continued on High Street, occasionally veering onto intersecting streets, before going back to High.
Near High and Fulton, officers from the Franklin County Sheriff's Office stood near the street. Protesters began questioning and yelling at the officers as the crowd approached. Only one officer responded to protesters before another officer stepped in and stopped him. None of the officers on the street had badge numbers clear.
The crowd continued north on High to the statehouse. Once most of the protesters had arrived to the statehouse, a crowd circled several people who began painting the street with the words "Justice For Casey."
Later in the night, protesters marched to Columbus Police headquarters on Marconi Boulevard. The crowd circled around the entrance, and officers inside began walking closer to the doors. However, officers did not come within 10 feet of the door.
Less than a dozen protesters crowded around the entrance, but most of the crowd remained several feet away. At a few points, some protesters hit the glass walls of the entrance, but soon after, others in the crowd would call for peace. Protesters — from leaders to those in the crowd — called for a peaceful demonstration several times throughout the night.
Here's the video of the second half of the protest.
Downtown Columbus was yet again filled with protesters a week after Franklin County Sheriff’s Deputy Jason Meade shot and killed Casey Goodson Jr.
The protests started at 6 pm in front of the courthouse Congresswoman Joyce Beatty gave a few comments before the crowd began moving up High Street.
About an hour later, protesters blocked off an intersection and circled around Goodson‘s family and their lawyer.
Both Tamala Payne, Goodson’s mother, and Sean Walton, one of the family’s attorneys, spoke on the need to get justice in the case and how they believe this happened because Goodson was Black.
At one point, the mother of Julius Tate spoke directly to Payne about her experience. The two hugged each other in the middle of the crowd.
After speaking, protesters began moving again, but the family was escorted away after organizers and the family repeatedly asked the crowd to back up with no results
Here is a full video of the first two hours of protest.