No, the Columbus civilian review board won’t review Goodson's case

No, the Columbus civilian review board won’t review Goodson's case

The community has been calling for the recently passed and currently unseated Columbus civilian review board to review Casey Goodson Jr.’s case, but the board won't be.

Among the many questions still surrounding the shooting death of Casey Goodson Jr. is whether or not Goodson’s case will receive an independent investigation and what that investigation will look like.

Goodson, a 23-year-old Black man, was shot and killed by Franklin County SWAT deputy Jason Meade on Friday in north Columbus. The shooting happened within Columbus city limits, but the officer who fired is employed by the county.

That has led many to ask: Will the civilian review board investigate Goodson’s case?

The short answer is no.

The Civilian Review Board is specific to the Columbus Division of Police.

Glenn McEntyre, assistant director of the Department of Public Safety

The civilian review board does not have the jurisdiction to investigate allegations against any authority or agency outside of CPD because of the language outlined in the charter amendment.

“It was a Franklin County Deputy that shot Casey Goodson,” Robin Davis, a spokeswoman for Mayor Ginther’s office, wrote in an email to Matter. “The civilian review board will not have jurisdiction over [the] Franklin County Sheriff’s Office.”

That means that, even if a fatal shooting or misconduct allegation happens within city limits, the civilian review board will only be able to use its subpoena and advisory powers if a sworn Columbus police officer is the target of the allegation.

“The Civilian Review Board is specific to the Columbus Division of Police,” Glenn McEntyre, assistant director of the Department of Public Safety, wrote in an email to Matter. The Civilian Review Board is specific to the Columbus Division of Police

The civilian review board has yet to be seated — but may be in early 2021

In November, Columbus voters overwhelmingly passed a charter amendment allowing the City to create a civilian review board, a group meant to investigate individual instances of police misconduct and use-of-force allegations. Many in the community have taken to social media calling for the review board to investigate Casey Goodson Jr.’s death.

But the board isn’t filled yet, and it won’t be until at least next month.

During a June 5 Community Safety Advisory Commission meeting, Ginther said that he would “seat the board by the end of the year.” But according to an emailed response from McEntyre, Ginther is still waiting on the final report from the work group and the city expects “to seat the board in the first weeks of 2021.”

McEntyre also noted that the inspector general — the connection between the review board and CPD — would also be specific to CPD. The inspector general will investigate broader policies and patterns of behavior within the division, rather than looking at individual instances of police misconduct. The inspector general will be appointed by the review board once it is seated.

Community members share concern over lack of oversight

To some of the more than 240,000 Columbus residents who voted yes on Issue 2 last month, the lack of community oversight into the killing of Goodson is concerning.

Tammy Fournier-Alsaada, lead organizer of the Juvenile Justice Coalition and current member of Chief Quinlan’s Advisory Panel, said that ideally there should be an independent body that investigates all police-involved shootings.

“Columbus police has its own problems and its own inability to investigate these cases thoroughly,” Fournier-Alsaada said in an interview with Matter. “We need to know the facts around what actually happened. We have one officer’s account of what happened, and we don’t know all of the facts, and that would be the role of an independent body such as a review board.”

Fournier-Alsaada, who previously served on the city’s Community Safety Commission, said that the power officers have to take a person’s life is another reason why a review board should exist.

A vigil for Casey Goodson was held in downtown Columbus on Saturday, the day after Goodson was shot and killed by Franklin County Deputy Jason Meade.
A vigil for Casey Goodson was held in downtown Columbus on Saturday, the day after Goodson was shot and killed by Franklin County Deputy Jason Meade. Jaelynn Grisso, Matter News

“Our attention should be on. We don’t have a review board seated currently, and [the] Franklin County Sheriff’s Department does not have that type of oversight,” she said.

But that oversight could be created — by Columbus voters.

The review board was created by an ordinance that is part of Columbus’ charter, which is essentially the city’s constitution.

Residents of Columbus could attempt to amend that charter through a petitioning process, similar to the campaign process seen over the summer to recall Mayor Ginther.

This would require the issue to be brought before voters, McEntyre said in an email.

“To amend the city charter to include other agencies operating within city limits, it would have to go back to the voters,” he wrote.

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