Tamala Payne wanted a peaceful protest in Columbus, Ohio to honor her son and seek justice for Casey Goodson, and that’s what she got this past weekend. Hundreds of supporters turned out in the city’s downtown on Saturday demanding answers in the death of the 23-year old, who was shot and killed by a Franklin County sheriff’s deputy on December 4th.
While attorneys for Deputy Jason Meade say the veteran law enforcement officer fired after Goodson refused to drop a gun that he had allegedly pointed at officers as he drove by them, Goodson’s family say that would be completely out of character for the legal gun owner and concealed carry holder.
For the first time, the siblings of Casey Goodman Jr. spoke about the loss of their older sibling.
“Casey was not only my brother he was my best friend he was also a father figure for me,” said his younger sister.
His younger brother said Casey was the kind of big brother who watched out for his siblings by walking them to the store or the park.
“No matter if it was rain sleet or hail he would do anything for us,” he said.
All of them questioned why their brother was killed.
“My brother is not stupid enough to pull a gun to a cop,” said his sister.
The Goodson case continues to draw national attention, with the New York Times covering the case in detail on Monday. The paper doesn’t have a lot of new information about the shooting itself or the differing accounts by Goodson’s family, who say the young man was shot while holding a bag with sandwiches and his face mask in one hand, while he had used the other hand to put the key to the family home in the lock.
At a rally at Columbus’ Statehouse on Saturday, people who knew Mr. Goodson described him as empathetic. Malissa Thomas-St. Clair, his sixth-grade teacher, said he was a model student who reached out to her by text message when her own son was killed in 2013.
“I remember you as a strong woman, but if you ever need an ear to talk to, I’ll be here for your support,” she said he wrote.
She said she last saw him alive not too long before his death, at a store where he was shopping for his dog.
“Listen to me clearly, young people,” she said at the rally. “Casey Goodson was a good man. He couldn’t hurt nobody. When it registered who they were talking about, I knew instantly in my soul, they got this one wrong.”
One new detail that the paper did report for the first time was the fact that the officers who were in the neighborhood to serve a warrant were in plainclothes.
Mr. Weeks, Mr. Goodson’s neighbor across the street, said that little about the shooting added up. The officers he saw were not in uniform, so how could Mr. Goodson have known they were law enforcement — either when he drove past them, or when one pursued him, Mr. Weeks asked.
“What if he sees the cop, and he has no clue it’s a cop?” Mr. Weeks said. “The stories are just so different.”
Police say they recovered a gun from Goodson, but they haven’t said where the gun was found. The Franklin County Medical Examiner has said that Goodson died from gunshot wounds to the torso, but haven’t said if Goodson was shot in the back, as the family alleges, or in his chest or side. Those details would give us a little bit better idea about what happened in the moments before Goodson was shot, but at the moment we have no idea when that information will be released to the public.
Given the absence of body camera footage and eyewitnesses to the shooting, we may never know with 100% certainty what happened that led to Goodson being shot and killed on the steps to the family home, but the more open and transparent the investigation is the better; for both Goodson’s family as well as for Deputy Meade.