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Feds Investigating Police Killing of Casey Goodson Jr. as Coroner Rules Death a Homicide

CC0 / / Police car, lights
Police car, lights - Sputnik International
The 23-year-old was shot dead by a Franklin County Sheriff's Office (FSCO) deputy while entering his Columbus, Ohio, home, on December 4. Conflicting stories have been presented regarding the details of what led to the police killing.

Dr. Anahi M. Ortiz of the Franklin County Coroner's Office issued a statement on Wednesday announcing findings related to death of Casey Goodson Jr., who was shot by FSCO Deputy Jason Meade on Friday.

"Casey Goodson was pronounced on December 4, 2020. An autopsy was performed on December 8, 2020. Based on findings from the autopsy and medical death investigation, manner of death is homicide," the December 9 news release read. 

"Cause of death, at this time is preliminary; we are waiting on medical records as well as the toxicology report. However, based on the current findings, cause of death is multiple gunshot wounds to the torso. We anticipate a final report in approximately 12 to 14 weeks." 

It's worth noting the classification of homicide, as defined by the National Association of Medical Examiners, "neither indicates nor implies criminal intent, which remains a determination within the province of legal processes." 

David DeVillers, US attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, announced Tuesday that an open investigation into the killing of Goodson had been launched in coordination with the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, the Cincinnati Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Columbus Division of Police. 

The probe was launched after Columbus Division of Police Chief Thomas Quinlan briefed DeVillers on the incident. 

Federal authorities will review the case involving Goodson, who was Black, and Meade, who is white, "and take appropriate action if the evidence indicates any federal civil rights laws were violated." 

The Columbus Division of Police claims that Meade, a 17-year veteran of the force and member of a US Marshal's Task Force looking for violent offenders, reported that he witnessed a man with a firearm and went to investigate the situation on Friday.

"[T]here are reports of a verbal exchange. The deputy fired at Mr. Casey Goodson, resulting in his death," the release detailed. "A gun was recovered from Mr. Goodson." 

At the time of the December 6 news release, no civilian eyewitness had been identified to the Columbus Police critical incident homicide detectives, the primary investigators of the incident.

Authorities claim the shooting was not seen by any officer other than Meade, and no body camera footage of the encounter exists, as "Franklin County Sheriff's task force officers are not issued body cameras." 

Meade's official account of events leading up to the shooting have yet to be released, but Sean L. Walton, co-counsel for Goodson's family, has argued that the 23-year-old was trying to get into his home during his final moments. 

"Casey had the screen door open and his keys in the door, and Deputy Jason Meade fired shots at Casey," Walton said to ABC News on Tuesday. "He fell into the house, where he lay in his kitchen."

Tamala Payne, Goodson's mother, told the outlet that she learned of her son's death after her 5-year-old child called her on the phone, screaming, "Mommy, Casey just got shot." 

Payne highlighted that the child saw Goodson's death, which could possibly add a witness account to the case. 

"Casey Goodson Jr. is yet another young Black man who should be alive today," Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) tweeted on December 7. "Our hearts break for another family who has lost a son at the hands of the police." 

​"We stand with Sen. Brown in saying that this is unfortunately another Black life lost, but it has to stop," Walton told ABC News. 

The family has claimed that Goodson was carrying a Subway sandwich in his hand, not a firearm, when he was shot and fell into the home. Furthermore, the 23-year-old's concealed carry license was up-to-date, according to documents provided by Walton to news outlet WOSU. 

"Casey enjoyed exercising his right to carry a gun, and we are not sure what happened that day, but no allegations of wrongdoing have been made. Casey was a law-abiding citizen," Walton stated during his ABC interview. 

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