COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Franklin County Sheriff Dallas Baldwin says the deputy who shot and killed Casey Goodson Jr. is leaving the sheriff’s office on disability retirement.
Sheriff Baldwin gave the following statement Friday afternoon:
My office has learned that Jason Meade has chosen to leave the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office on disability retirement effective July 2, 2021. Law Enforcement disability decisions are governed by state law and made by the pension system. As sheriff, I have no control or input over what the pension system decides with this or any other disability case.Sheriff Dallas Baldwin
An attorney for Goodson’s family said he was disappointed that Baldwin did not fire Meade before he could retire. Meade has been on paid administrative leave since the shooting, with charges pending in the case.
“The news that Meade has decided to retire brings Casey’s family a small sense of relief,” attorney Sean Walton of Columbus said. “He will no longer be a threat to the residents of Franklin County.
“Casey’s family remains fully committed to pushing for Meade’s indictment and arrest on murder charges. His sudden retirement shows that he understands that he is soon to be held accountable for his actions.”
The death of Goodson, 23, was the first in a series of fatal shootings by law enforcement officers against Black people in the Columbus area — also including Andre’ Hill, Miles Jackson and Ma’Khia Bryant — that have sparked protests around the city.
Meade was coming off an assignment with the U.S. Marshal’s fugitive task force in a north Columbus neighborhood when he spotted Goodson driving a vehicle. It is unclear why Meade pursued Goodson, a nearby resident who was not related to the marshal’s activities. U.S. Marshal Peter Tobin initially said Goodson waved a gun at Meade while driving past but later took back that statement, saying he had “insufficient information” and that Meade was no longer on duty with the marshals at the time of the shooting and was acting on his own.
Meade followed Goodson back to the residence in the 3900 block of Estates Place. Meade’s attorney said that Goodson pointed a firearm at Meade and did not follow instructions to drop the weapon before the shooting, and also that at least one witness confirmed that account. Meade was not wearing a body camera at the time.
Goodson’s mother, Tamala Payne, and a family attorney said that Goodson was returning from the dentist with Subway sandwiches and was unlocking the door as he was shot, with his death witnessed by his 72-year-old grandmother and two toddlers who were near the door.
Meade’s attorney said a gun was recovered from Goodson. But his mother said that Goodson, who had no criminal background, had a license to legally carry a concealed weapon and that he took the responsibility so seriously that he had wanted to become a CCW instructor.
The final autopsy report showed that Goodson was shot six times, five times in the back and once in the buttocks.
Who would oversee the investigation was initially muddled. The shooting occurred in Columbus city limits, with Columbus police responding, but the state Bureau of Criminal Investigation — which typically handles shootings involving law enforcement — declined a request to get involved because it said it was contacted too late. Instead, Columbus police continued the criminal investigation and the FBI launched a civil rights investigation, with the U.S. Attorney’s office being appointed as a special prosecutor due to a transition in Franklin County prosecutors.
Columbus police reported that it had completed a preliminary grand jury packet by Jan. 14, but federal grand juries did not resume regular meetings until March due to the pandemic.
Meade, a 17-year member of the sheriff’s office, has been on leave since Goodson’s death. He served with the Marines in Iraq and also was a pastor at Rosedale Freewill Baptist Church. According to his personnel file, he had been a member of SWAT since 2014, and he was one of several deputies who shot at an armed murder suspect in Pike County in 2018. A grand jury cleared the deputies of wrongdoing. It was determined that the suspect had killed himself prior to the shooting. Meade was also once reprimanded for using his taser and failing to notify a supervisor.