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A Guide to Who’s Who in the Casey Goodson Investigation

Casey Goodson
The Police
The Investigators

Casey Goodson Jr., his Loved Ones, and his Lawyer

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Casey Goodson Jr.

Casey Goodson, Jr. was a 23-year-old Black man from northeast Columbus. He was shot and killed by Officer Jason Meade, a Franklin County Sheriff's deputy, on December 4, 2020. Goodson was not the target of any investigation and did not have a police record, his family’s attorney said. Goodson had a valid concealed carry license and was known to be a vocal supporter of civil rights. Police said they recovered a gun from Goodson after the shooting. An autopsy report released on March 18, 2021, revealed that five of six shots hit Goodson in the back.

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Tamala Payne

Tamala Payne is the mother of Casey Goodson, Jr. Payne has publicly called for the arrest and murder trial of Sheriff's Deputy Jason Meade for her son’s shooting death. In an interview with CBS News, Payne said that she believes Goodson "was murdered in cold blood, and we don't have any answers as to why" Meade shot and killed her son. “We have known since the moment we found him on the kitchen floor that he was murdered,” Payne said in a statement from her attorney upon reviewing the final coroner's report in the fatal shooting of her son. “This report says it right there, Jason Meade murdered my son in his own home.”

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Kaylee Harper

Kaylee Harper is the sister of Casey Goodson Jr. She disputed the police's account of her brother’s death from the moment it happened. In a post on Facebook, Harper said, "My brother literally walked across the yard, walked into the back fence to get to the side door, had his Subway and mask in one hand, keys in the other." She said the officers were lying about what happened.

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Janae Sanford

Another sibling of Casey Goodson Jr., Janae Sanford, also had taken to social media to speak out against Columbus Police. In a post on Facebook regarding what happened on the night of Goodson's death, Sanford said that Goodson was in a black car, got out of that black car, and then walked past the front of his residence. That is when he stepped through the gate to the door, and in his home, she said. She continued, "He was shot in his back through his screen door!" adding, "If he was waving his gun around, why didn't y’all handle it when he parked and got all his stuff out of the car? He had no clue of what was happening, my poor brother." An autopsy report from the Franklin County coroner confirmed that at least part of Sanford’s statement is correct: Meade shot Goodson five times in his back.

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Sean Walton

Sean Walton is the Ohio-based attorney at Walton + Brown, LLP representing Casey Goodson, Jr. and his family. During a press conference, Walton said Goodson was "killed on his kitchen floor simply because he is a Black man," and Meade "weaponized" his skin. He has represented several families of police brutality victims including Goodson’s, Ty’re King, Henry Green and others killed by Columbus police officers. Of his educational background, Walton got his Bachelor of Arts in political science, focusing on African American studies, from the University of Cincinnati and earned his J.D from Capital University Law School.

Police Involved in the Incident

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Jason Meade

Jason Meade is employed by the Franklin County Sheriff's Office. He shot and killed 23-year-old Columbus resident Casey Goodson, Jr. on December 4, 2020. At the time of the incident, he was assigned full-time as a member of the U.S. Marshals Service, the federal government’s main agency for fugitive investigations and an enforcement arm of the federal courts. Also, he is a man of faith, holding the pastor's position at Rosedale Free Will Baptist Church near Mechanicsburg. During an interview in 2018 with host Napoleon Bell of the FCSO, Meade used his religion to justify use of force and said there are times for "righteous release." Meade was previously a United States Marine, learning hand-to-hand combat, and is experienced using some lethal weapons. He is currently on paid administrative leave.

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Franklin County Sheriff's Office

The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office is a full-service law enforcement agency that oversees the enforcement of court orders, conducts investigations into criminal matters and enforces the law. In a Twitter post on December 4, 2020, FCSO said that 17-year veteran deputy Jason Meade was involved in the deadly shooting of a 23-year-old Black man, Casey Goodson, Jr. However, there was no body-worn camera footage (FCSO officers do not have them), no cellphone footage, no eyewitnesses and no other officers to see what transpired during the incident, per the Columbus Division of Police, which is investigating the case. The FCSO is not tasked with investigating the Goodson case but is required to cooperate with the Columbus Division of Police and the FBI in their investigations.

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US Marshals Service

The U.S. Marshals Service was the first federal law enforcement agency established in the United States. Marshals have served the country since 1789, acting as an enforcement branch of the federal justice system and as the federal government’s main agency for fugitive investigations. Of why federal marshals were even at the scene of the incident, a spokesperson for the U.S. Marshal’s Service said that the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office SWAT team had been unsuccessfully searching for a fugitive on Friday, March 4, 2020. They said Meade saw a man, Casey Goodson, Jr., pass them in a car while waving a handgun. FCSO Deputy Jason Meade pursued Goodson on his own and fired shots when the 23-year-old Black man allegedly did not comply with orders to drop his weapon; five of six of them hit Goodson’s back. The federal marshals confirmed that Goodson was not the target of the fugitive investigation, though, and Ohio is an open-carry state.

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Mark Collins

Mark Collins is Jason Meade's lawyer. His law firm is the Law Office of Mark C. Collins Co LPA. Also, Collins has been an active attorney since 1993 when he was appointed to Assistant Prosecuting Attorney for the Franklin County Prosecutor's Office. In a press release, he claimed that Casey Goodson, Jr. pointed a gun at Meade. That differs from Goodson's family and their attorney’s comments on the shooting, insisting that they did not see a firearm on or near Goodson’s body and that he was only carrying Subway sandwiches, his mask and car keys. Collins added that Meade did not mistake Goodson's Subway sandwich for a weapon.

Those Involved with the Investigation and Hearing

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Columbus Division of Police

The Columbus Division of Police was established in 1816 and now covers 20 precincts across the greater Columbus area. Over 1,800 officers and 300 civilian employees work in the department today. CPD is investigating the police killing of Casey Goodson Jr. Three days after Franklin County Sheriff’s Deputy Jason Meade killed Goodson, the Division tried to pass the investigation to the Bureau of Criminal Investigation to no avail.

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The Bureau of Criminal Investigation

The Bureau of Criminal Investigation is the state of Ohio’s crime lab and provides criminal investigative support to local, state and federal law enforcement agencies when requested. Attorney General Dave Yost said that the state agency should be the first call regarding police shootings. Though the Columbus Division of Police attempted to turn over the investigation to BCI, the state crime lab said it would not accept the case because three days had passed before CPD referred the incident to them.

In a statement, Yost said that "BCI is the first call because we cannot be the subject matter experts unless we're on [the] scene from the beginning to document the evidence of what happened from the start." Three days following the dismantling of the crime scene and all the witnesses' dispersing is not acceptable, Yost said.

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Federal Bureau of Investigation

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is a federal investigative and intelligence agency with jurisdiction over a variety of federal crimes, including national security issues. U.S. Attorney David DeVillers (pictured above) announced on December 8, 2020, that the U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI would begin investigating the killing of Casey Goodson, Jr. by Franklin County Sheriff’s Deputy Jason Meade to determine whether any federal civil rights laws were violated.

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Franklin County Prosecutor

"Time for a change. Time for Tyack." These are the words of retired Democrat judge Gary Tyack, who in November 2020 won the Franklin County Prosecutor seat after he defeated Ron O'Brien, a Republican who served in the position for over 20 years. Tyack’s slogan stuck with central Ohio voters during the 2020 election, having received 53 percent of the vote. He campaigned on his belief that the city needs "new leadership that will rise to the occasion to take on the challenges" facing the Columbus community. In regards to the killing of Casey Goodson Jr. by Franklin County Sheriff's Office Deputy Jason Meade, Tyack said in an interview with 10TV on January 4, 2021 that he would have to find another prosecutor to handle the case for the his office because he “can't both protect the sheriff’s office and pursue the sheriff’s office at the same time”.