COLUMBUS, Ohio — Within the second earlier than Casey Goodson Jr. was shot useless by a sheriff’s deputy on the entrance of his residence, his lifelong neighbor heard a person shouting, as if he had been arguing, after which a burst of gunfire.
The neighbor, Andrew Weeks, rushed to a window and noticed three males exterior, at the least one holding a rifle. He referred to as the police, unaware that the three males — all in plain garments — had been regulation enforcement officers.
Earlier than lengthy, the block was lined with emergency autos, and Mr. Goodson was carried out on a stretcher, fatally wounded from a number of gunshot wounds.
Mr. Goodson, 23, was killed by an area sheriff’s deputy, Jason Meade, who was assigned to a fugitive activity pressure organized by the U.S. Marshals. Members of the duty pressure had been within the space on the lookout for somebody in an operation that had nothing to do with Mr. Goodson.
Whereas these particulars aren’t in query, nearly all the things else concerning the Dec. 4 taking pictures — the occasions that preceded it, why it occurred, the place precisely on his physique Mr. Goodson was shot — has been disputed. And the case, the most recent in a collection of police killings of Black males this 12 months, has roiled Columbus, prompted a whole lot to display within the metropolis’s streets and underscored tensions between the town’s Black neighborhood and the authorities.
“The entire state of affairs is simply utterly uncontrolled,” mentioned Brenda Davis, who has lived throughout from Mr. Goodson’s residence in Northeast Columbus for greater than 20 years and likewise serves because the secretary of the native chapter of the N.A.A.C.P. “We’re listening to so many conflicting reviews.”
In response to the U.S. Marshal for the Southern District of Ohio, Peter Tobin, members of the fugitive activity pressure noticed Mr. Goodson waving a gun whereas he was driving his automobile. Deputy Meade, a 17-year veteran of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Workplace, gave chase.
“That’s when the deputy, in some unspecified time in the future after that, he confronted him,” Mr. Tobin mentioned, “and it went badly.”
Deputy Meade’s lawyer, Mark Collins, mentioned that Mr. Goodson pointed a gun on the deputy. However Mr. Goodson’s members of the family, who had been inside the home and heard the gunfire, mentioned they didn’t see a gun close to him after he was shot.
The Columbus police, who’re investigating the case, mentioned there have been “reviews of a verbal trade” earlier than the taking pictures, and that a gun was “recovered from Mr. Goodson.” However they haven’t mentioned the place the gun was discovered, whether or not in Mr. Goodson’s fingers, elsewhere on his physique, or in his automobile.
There is no such thing as a video footage of the confrontation that led to Mr. Goodson’s loss of life, not like different high-profile taking pictures deaths of Black males, like Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick, Ga., Walter Scott in North Charleston, S.C., and Tamir Rice in Cleveland. And in contrast to officers with the Columbus Police Division, Franklin County sheriff’s deputies don’t put on physique cameras, although approval to buy cameras has been mentioned for months.
In a assembly final week, the Franklin County Board of Commissioners, which incorporates oversight of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Workplace, agreed that Mr. Goodson’s loss of life has given new urgency to approve the price range for physique cameras.
Mr. Goodson’s household mentioned he had ambitions to personal business vans, had taken lessons to earn a business driver’s license and had additionally talked about changing into a firearms teacher. They mentioned he emphasised to different members of the family the significance of correct firearms dealing with.
His family members described him as a delicate soul who was by no means in hassle with the regulation, they usually mentioned he noticed himself as his household’s protector after his grandfather’s loss of life.
“He was only a Black man coming residence from a dentist’s appointment. He didn’t do something,” his mom, Tamala Payne, mentioned of the Dec. 4 encounter.
Ms. Payne, who spoke to reporters throughout a web-based information convention final week, referred to as for protests in her son’s title to be nonviolent. “My son was a peaceable man, and I would like his legacy to proceed in peace,” she mentioned.
She additionally urged the authorities to cost Deputy Meade.
“I would like Jason Meade arrested. I would like Jason Meade charged. And I would like Jason Meade’s badge taken, and I don’t need Jason Meade to ever be capable to apply in regulation enforcement once more,” she mentioned. “And that’s what Casey’s protests and Casey’s rallies are about. That is about receiving justice for my son.”
Deputy Meade, who was positioned on administrative depart after the taking pictures, was one among seven deputies who fired weapons throughout a lethal 2018 standoff. Not one of the deputies was discovered at fault. He was additionally orally reprimanded final 12 months for violating the sheriff’s workplace’s guidelines on reporting Taser use.
Mr. Goodson’s loss of life has capped a 12 months that has seen tensions rise between the police in Columbus and Black residents, who account for barely lower than a 3rd of the town’s inhabitants of 900,000 however are pulled over at alarmingly larger charges than white residents.
Activists have criticized the Police Division’s file of stopping Black motorists. Between 2012 and 2016, Columbus cops made 84 p.c extra stops per resident in neighborhoods that had been at the least three-quarters Black.
Throughout weeks of protests in Columbus this summer season after the killing of George Floyd, who died after being pinned beneath the knee of a white police officer in Minneapolis, there have been many complaints that Columbus officers used extreme pressure in opposition to demonstrators. The Columbus Metropolis Council allotted funds for an investigation into these claims, and 19 accusations of misconduct stay underneath evaluate.
On Friday, the Columbus police chief, Tom Quinlan, vowed that protesters demanding justice for Mr. Goodson can be allowed to train their First Modification rights, and that every one officers can be carrying physique cameras and have badge numbers seen.
“I hear the cries of this neighborhood,” Chief Quinlan mentioned. “I hear your calls for for solutions, for accountability, and for justice.”
Chief Quinlan has pledged an “impartial, meticulous, unbiased” probe. The F.B.I. and the Justice Division’s Civil Rights Division are additionally investigating.
The Ohio legal professional basic’s workplace, whose Bureau of Prison Investigation usually investigates shootings involving cops, mentioned it declined to take action on this case as a result of the request was not made till three days later, after witnesses had been interviewed and the scene cleared.
“We do these powerful investigations on a regular basis — however from the start,” the legal professional basic, Dave Yost, tweeted final week. “This one belongs to CPD.”
At a rally at Columbus’ Statehouse on Saturday, individuals who knew Mr. Goodson described him as empathetic. Malissa Thomas-St. Clair, his sixth-grade instructor, mentioned he was a mannequin pupil who reached out to her by textual content message when her personal son was killed in 2013.
“I bear in mind you as a powerful girl, however should you ever want an ear to speak to, I’ll be right here on your help,” she mentioned he wrote.
She mentioned she final noticed him alive not too lengthy earlier than his loss of life, at a retailer the place he was looking for his canine.
“Take heed to me clearly, younger folks,” she mentioned on the rally. “Casey Goodson was a superb man. He couldn’t damage no person. When it registered who they had been speaking about, I knew immediately in my soul, they acquired this one flawed.”
After the taking pictures, Mr. Tobin, the U.S. Marshal, mentioned that it had been justified. However after the town’s mayor, Andrew Ginther, sharply criticized him for “uninformed” statements that had broken the general public’s notion of the investigation, Mr. Tobin reversed course on Friday, saying his feedback had been “untimely.”
Mr. Tobin additionally sought to place far between his activity pressure and Deputy Meade’s actions, saying the deputy was performing on his personal, impartial authority throughout his pursuit and taking pictures of Mr. Goodson.
The police have mentioned that nobody witnessed the taking pictures, they usually haven’t mentioned the place on his torso — his entrance, again or facet — Mr. Goodson was shot.
However Mr. Goodson’s household and their lawyer, Sean Walton, mentioned that Mr. Goodson was shot 3 times within the again. Additionally they mentioned that the one issues he had in his fingers had been a face masks to guard him from the coronavirus and Subway sandwiches he had introduced residence for himself and his household. He had simply inserted his home keys right into a lock on a facet door when he was shot, a girl who recognized herself as his sister, Kaylee Harper, mentioned in an emotional Fb publish.
Mr. Weeks, Mr. Goodson’s neighbor throughout the road, mentioned that little concerning the taking pictures added up. The officers he noticed weren’t in uniform, so how might Mr. Goodson have recognized they had been regulation enforcement — both when he drove previous them, or when one pursued him, Mr. Weeks requested.
“What if he sees the cop, and he has no clue it’s a cop?” Mr. Weeks mentioned. “The tales are simply so totally different.”
Lucia Walinchus reported from Columbus and Richard A. Oppel Jr. reported from New York. Kitty Bennett contributed analysis.