COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther took a U.S. Marshal to task for his statement about the fatal shooting of Casey Goodson, Jr. by a Franklin County Sheriff’s Deputy.
The Marshal who made those comments issued a statement late Friday afternoon, saying his remarks at the scene of the shooting were “premature.”
Meanwhile, the Columbus Police union is attempting to dispel what they said is misinformation being spread in the media and online.
In a statement Friday afternoon, Ginther said U.S. Marshal Pete Tobin saying the shooting appeared to be justified was “inappropriate, uninformed, and damaged the public’s trust in the investigation.”
The Columbus Division of Police, the U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI are committed to following the evidence, getting to the truth and providing answers to Mr. Goodson’s family and the community.”
Ginther’s full statement is below:
“In the week since the shooting death of Casey Goodson, Jr., I have heard over and over that statements made last Friday indicated the outcome of the investigation was predetermined. That is not the case. U.S. Marshal Pete Tobin said that it appeared the shooting was justified. He was wrong to make a statement, and his words were inappropriate, uninformed and damaged the public’s trust in the investigation. The Columbus Division of Police, the U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI are committed to following the evidence, getting to the truth and providing answers to Mr. Goodson’s family and the community.”Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther
Later in the day Friday, Tobin said his comments were based on “insufficient information” he received at the scene of the shooting.
“I previously provided commentary after arriving at the scene of the incident and made statements based on insufficient information that I received prior to the beginning of the official investigation into the shooting incident,” he said in a statement. “It was premature for me to provide any opinion, conclusion, or other information about the facts of the incident.”
Tobin’s statement went on to say that the U.S. Marshals operation that day had been completed and while Meade has “limited authority” to work with the Marshals, he was not doing so at the time of the shooting due to the U.S. Marshals’ operation being finished.
“The officer involved in the shooting had limited authority to work U.S. Marshals cases such as pursuing dangerous fugitives or recovering missing children,” Tobin said in his statement. “However, U.S. Marshals task force operations had concluded, and the officer was acting on his own and in his independent authority as a Franklin County Sheriff’s Deputy within his home jurisdiction when he encountered Mr. Goodson, and throughout the subsequent incident leading to Mr. Goodson’s death.”
A statement made on behalf of Meade by the Fraternal Order of Police, the city’s police officer union, said misinformation is being circulated in the media and online.
“Many individuals are making claims to the media that the allegation that Mr. Goodson was pointing a gun is untrue,” the statement reads. “CPD (Columbus Police Department) has repeatedly asked for any witnesses to contact them. If ANYONE has some evidence that disputes this assertion, that evidence needs to be provided to the CIRT (Critical Incident Response Team) and federal investigators.”
The letter from the FOP also stated an “initial statement of support” for Meade was given to the media by the FOP at the onset of the shooting, but the media refused to report it.
However, Keith Farrell, president of the FOP, later contacted NBC 4 Friday afternoon and said the union did not issue a statement at that time, saying one person with the FOP spoke with a few reporters at that time. Farrell apologized and said it was not his intent to mislead anyone.
According to police, on Dec. 4, as the marshal’s operations were wrapping up, Goodson drove past them waving a gun. Several officers followed him, and when they caught up to him, commanded him to drop the weapon. After a verbal exchange, Meade fired at Goodson.
The Franklin County coroner reported Wednesday that Goodson was struck several times in his torso.
In their version, Goodson’s relatives said he was returning home from a dentist’s appointment with Subway sandwiches. He was shot and killed as he unlocked his door and entered his home. His death was witnessed by Goodson’s 72-year-old grandmother and two toddlers who were near the door.