COLUMBUS (WCMH) – A peaceful protest in downtown Columbus Friday night demanded justice in the shooting death of Casey Goodson Jr.
Goodson was shot and killed last Friday by a Franklin County Sheriff’s Deputy who was working as part of a U.S. Marshal’s operation just prior to the shooting.
Starting at approximately 6 p.m., when the march began, people continued to join, with a lot of them expressing sadness and anger over Goodson’s death.
“I know a lot of people are frustrated and wishing it would end,” said Columbus resident Deacon Hooper. “It’s not going to end on a wish. We have to participate and make this change for the positive.”
“They kill plenty of white people, too,” Hooper added. “They disproportionately kill Black people, but they can just straight up kill somebody and declare it’s fine, and that ain’t right.”
There was an abundant police presence at the demonstration as well, with Columbus Police Chief Thomas Quinlan releasing a statement earlier Friday, stating he, as leader of the Columbus Division of Police, supports the demonstrators’ First Amendment rights.
Quinlan went on to ask anyone observing or experiencing anything they deem excessive or improper by Columbus Police to contact the city’s officer reporting email, email@example.com. Quinlan asks anyone reporting an incident to include photos, videos, and specific information about the incident.
Quinlan also said all officers working the protest will be wearing body cameras and have their badge numbers clearly visible.
In a powerful moment, the march stopped as Casey Goodson Jr.’s mother encouraged the crowd to keep the peace in the name of her son.
“We need to learn how to love again,” Tamala Payne said. “Love brings unity. That’s the only thing I will accept in the name of my son.”
The organizers of the demonstration call it a rally of transparency and accountability, adding they will do whatever it takes to make a change.
“Unless our lawmakers pass laws in the General Assembly, unless they stop qualified immunity, nothing’s going to change,” said organizer Cynthia Brown of Columbus. “There will not be no qualified immunity because officers know nothing’s going to happen to them if they kill unarmed men, women, and child. All they’re going to say is, ‘I feared for my life,’ and get off with murder, and enough is enough.”
Ohio Congresswoman Joyce Beatty and the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Napoleon Bell were among those taking part in Friday’s protest.
The Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) announced all lines along High Street will be rerouted to 3rd and 4th Streets due to the demonstration until further notice.
When the demonstration wrapped up, Quinlan tweeted the event was “respectful on all sides” and reported no force, no mace used, and no arrests.
A second rally is planned for Saturday afternoon at the Ohio Statehouse.