The family of 23-year-old Casey Christopher Goodson Jr. is livid after a Franklin County SWAT Deputy, working with the U.S. Marshal's office fugitive task force, shot and killed him outside of his home on Friday, according to The Columbus Dispatch.
Goodson's sister and mother were also incensed that police were able to widely disseminate a version of events that painted the officer in the best light and did not align with the family's recollection of events.
On Friday, Goodson was coming home from a dentist appointment carrying a Subway sandwich, his keys and a face mask.
It is unclear what led to the shooting, but Jason Meade, a 17-year veteran of the force, opened fire, shooting Goodson three times and killing him, according to a police statement. Goodson's family says he was shot in the back but it has not yet been confirmed where he was shot.
A 17-year veteran FCSO Deputy assigned full time to the US Marshal Task Force was involved in the deadly shooting of a 23-year old man Friday afternoon. The US Marshal’s Office says the suspect’s weapon was recovered at the scene. The shooting remains under investigation pic.twitter.com/pnH0xZrogM
— Franklin County Sheriff’s Office (@OHFCSO) December 5, 2020
Lawyers for Goodson's family said his 72-year-old grandmother and two toddlers saw the shooting happen as the young man tried to come into the house. Hours after the shooting, his keys were still dangling in the door.
At a press conference, U.S. Marshal for the Southern District of Ohio Peter Tobin relayed a completely different version of events, telling reporters that his officers were finishing up an unsuccessful raid on another home when Goodson drove by allegedly waving a handgun.
According to Tobin, an officer approached Goodson, asked him to put the gun down, and when he didn't, opened fire.
Before an investigation into the shooting was even conducted, Tobin said he believed the shooting was justified, according to local news outlet ABC6.
"No investigation has been conducted, to our knowledge. At that point, they had not even began their investigation. So at the beginning of an investigation to say it's justified," family lawyer Sean Walton told The Columbus Dispatch. "Well tell us why it's justified because at that point Casey was a law-abiding citizen entering his home after leaving an appointment with his dentist while carrying food."
The police version of the story was pushed out to multiple news outlets who ran with the unproven story that Goodson was allegedly waving a gun at police, all while his family said nothing could be further from the truth.
His sister took to Facebook to bash police for convincing news outlets to run with their version of events.
"This was not justified. He didn't pose a threat at all," family friend Heather Johnson told The Columbus Dispatch. "Casey was 23 years old, he never had any type of crimes. He was good, he worked at the Gap, he loved his family. He just enjoyed being a big brother and enjoyed being with his family, he loved them very much."
Other family members have since spoken out as well, slamming the police department for the shooting and for effectively covering it up through media releases.
Noted civil rights attorney Ben Crump has also spoken out about the shooting, calling for justice.
“Casey was a vocal supporter of civil rights, freedom, and justice for all. As I have come to learn more about Casey, what stands out to me is how proud he was to protect his family and to show his younger siblings the right way to live," Walton said.
"It is important that his name and legacy continue in a way that is befitting of his short yet powerful life. Our hope is that people stand with Casey with the same passion that Casey stood with people. Our demand is that the authorities provide the family with answers for Casey’s death and that the officer involved be held accountable. The family and the community demand swift justice for Casey Goodson,” he added.
Sarah Gelsomino, another attorney helping the family, demanded a thorough and transparent investigation into the shooting.
“Police who use deadly force outside the bounds of the law endanger our communities and must be held accountable,” Gelsomino said.
Both lawyers also noted that Goodson had a concealed carry permit that allowed him to carry a handgun.
On Saturday, about 40 people attended a vigil that was held in Goodson's honor and a GoFundMe campaign has been set up to cover his funeral costs.
BuzzFeed quoted another family friend who wrote on Facebook about the time they just shared with Goodson over Thanksgiving.
"We were just together on Thanksgiving clowin, play fighting and having so much fun and laughter. Whenever you saw me you always asked me how my day was… I don’t know why God brought me into your moms life, but I’m here and I will do everything in my power to clear your name and take care of your mom and siblings," the friend wrote.
— kaylee ???? (@__kaybaeee) December 5, 2020
Officers in the city do not wear bodycams but some police vehicles have video cameras according to The Columbus Dispatch. The police have not said if there is any video of the incident and it is unclear if other neighbors may have caught the situation on video.
Tobin told ABC6 that the shooting would be investigated by the Columbus Police Department and the Franklin County prosecutor’s office.