The mother of Casey Goodson Jr., a 23-year-old Black man who was fatally shot by a sheriff’s deputy in Ohio on Friday, is demanding answers about why her son was killed. Tamala Payne told CBS News that she believes Goodson “was murdered in cold blood,” and said her family will continue to fight for an unbiased investigation into the deadly incident.
“My son was murdered in cold blood, and we don’t have no answers as to why he was murdered,” Payne told CBS News. “It is not a question to me at all at this time if my son was murdered or not.”
“My question is, ‘Why was my son murdered?'” Payne asked. “And unfortunately, the coward that took his life does not have enough guts to answer the questions as to why my son’s life was taken.”
Payne’s comments come as the U.S. Marshals, Columbus police and Goodson’s family have all offered different accounts of the fatal shooting. In the aftermath of the shooting, U.S. Marshal Peter Tobin said the victim was “seen driving down the street waving a gun,” and that “at some point after that, [the deputy] confronted him, and it went badly.”
Tobin also told reporters that at least one person told investigators that they heard a deputy demand the victim drop a gun and that the deputy fired after he refused, according to CBS affiliate WBNS-TV. The U.S. Marshals Service has not provided any additional information.
The Columbus Division of Police, which is investigating the shooting, released different information in a statement on Sunday. Police said Jason Meade, a Franklin County sheriff’s deputy working with the U.S. Marshals Service Fugitive Task Force, witnessed “a man with a gun” while looking for violent offenders on behalf of the task force. The department added that there were “reports of a verbal exchange” before Goodson was killed. Police also said they recovered a gun from Goodson, but did not say he had been waving a gun before he was killed.
In an updated statement issued Wednesday, Columbus police said, “Statements made by representatives of other agencies involved in Friday’s Task Force operation were viewpoints expressed by those not involved and without knowledge of the investigation.”
Goodson was not the person being sought by the task force. Police said there were no eyewitnesses and no body camera footage.
According to Goodson’s family, he was returning from a dentist appointment with three Subway sandwiches in his hand when he was shot in the back at his grandmother’s doorstep. Family attorney Sean Walton told CBS News that Goodson fell into the house in front of his 72-year-old grandmother.
When asked about the claim that Goodson was “waving a gun” before he was killed, Payne said, “Casey would never ride by waving his gun at anybody, let alone a police officer.”
“They recanted that story because that was so far-fetched,” she added, “because if he rolled by waving a gun, how was my son ever, ever, ever allowed to even exit the vehicle and walk across two yards into a back gate and get killed as he was going into his home?”
Walton said the family is not sure if Goodson was carrying a gun when he was killed. But he noted that Goodson had a concealed carry permit as Ohio is an open carry state.
“We don’t know if he had a gun on him, unfortunately, because we don’t have answers at this point about what happened that led Jason Meade to choose to take Casey’s life that day,” Walton said. “But, you know, if he did have a gun on him, it would not be a surprise because he had every right to have a gun on him that day. And that in itself is not a crime at all.”
CBS News has obtained a copy of a preliminary case report that does not provide any additional information about the shooting. Meade has not yet spoken publicly, and police have not released a report detailing his account of what transpired.
A preliminary autopsy report released Wednesday labeled Goodson’s death a homicide, determining he died from “multiple gunshot wounds to the torso.” Meade has been placed on administrative duty pending the outcome of the investigation.
“This family should not have to deal with this trauma without any answers,” Walton said. “This family deserves better. Black people in this country deserve better.”
There has also been controversy over which agency will investigate the case. A spokesperson for Columbus police told CBS News earlier this week that it requested the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) take over the case. But a spokesperson for the attorney general’s office, which manages the bureau, released a statement Monday that rejected the request and criticized police for waiting to include the bureau in the investigation.
“We received a referral to take a three day old officer-involved shooting case. Not knowing all the reasons as to why so much time has passed before the case was referred to BCI, we cannot accept this case,” the spokesperson said, adding, “We cannot be the subject matter experts unless we’re on scene from the beginning to document the evidence of what happened from the start. Three days later after the crime scene has been dismantled and the witness[es] have all dispersed does not work.”
The Department of Justice announced on Tuesday that its Civil Rights Division, along with the Cincinnati Division of the FBI, would also review the case.
Walton said federal intervention in the case is no guarantee that Goodson’s family will get justice. “We’re here in 2020 because no matter who’s involved — FBI, the local police, the state police, no matter who’s involved — it keeps happening,” he said. “And so every once in a while, there is an officer held accountable, but it only seems to happen when the country stands up.”
“George Floyd’s killer was indicted because there was a video and the country stood up,” Walton added. “Without that video, George Floyd would have been unable to have his story told. So here we are in a situation where Casey can’t tell his story — he doesn’t have to, because he has a powerful family to do so, but also because the evidence that we have tells his story.”
“That’s all we have, because we have no statement from Jason Meade: We have Casey’s keys in the door, his keys. They had a Mickey Mouse emblem on them because he was so peaceful and joyful,” Walton said. “We have the Subway sandwiches, all three on the floor next to a pool of blood.”
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