Civil rights and FBI investigators will help look into the fatal shooting by an Ohio sheriff’s deputy of a Black man whose family says that he was holding not a gun, but a sandwich, and that he was shot in front of two toddlers and his grandmother while inside his home, not outside it, as authorities assert.
The office of U.S. Attorney David M. DeVillers in Ohio said Tuesday that it would step in — along with the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, the FBI in Cincinnati and the Columbus police — after the state attorney general’s office declined to investigate the shooting of Casey Goodson Jr., 23, because it said the police department didn’t ask soon enough.
Goodson had just gone to the dentist, she told the dispatcher, and she didn’t know what had happened or who shot him.
The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office first reported Friday the fatal shooting of a man that day on the north side of Columbus. The case was given to city police because the Sheriff’s Office does not oversee investigations of its own deputies in fatal shootings, and the police department did not release such details as the names of Goodson and the deputy who shot him until Sunday.
Since then, Goodson’s relatives and law enforcement officials have given conflicting details. Visible evidence of the events is lacking because the Sheriff’s Office does not provide officers with body cameras, and the deputy’s SWAT vehicle did not have a dash-mounted camera.
The deputy, Jason Meade, a 17-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Office, had been assigned to a U.S. Marshals Office fugitive task force. The task force had just finished an unsuccessful search for a fugitive Friday afternoon when Goodson, who was not the suspect, drove by and waved a gun at Meade, according to U.S. Marshal Peter Tobin.
Meade confronted him outside Goodson’s vehicle in front of the man’s home, Tobin said.
One witness heard Meade command Goodson to drop his gun, and when he didn’t, the deputy shot him, Tobin said. Goodson was taken to a hospital, where he died.
But attorneys for Goodson’s family say that he was shot while walking in his home, and that his grandmother and two toddlers, who were not his own children, witnessed the shooting.
Tobin’s narrative leaves out “key details that raise cause for extreme concern,” the attorneys’ statement reads, including the object Goodson was holding. Police say it was a gun that was later recovered from the scene; Goodson’s family says he was holding a Subway sandwich.