Goodson family says wheel of justice is moving too slowly, reveals evidence
Attorney Sean Walton revealed evidence in a press conference Wednesday that suggests Casey Goodson Jr. was likely listening to AirPods that weren't initially collected as evidence when he was shot five times in the back by a former Franklin County sheriff's deputy while bringing sandwiches into his house for his family.
Walton, an attorney for Goodson Jr.’s family, said this example of sloppy police work paired with delays to criminal and civil trials shows local elected officials are letting justice go by the wayside for Goodson’s family and "abdicating” their responsibility to implement police accountability.
Walton said investigators left Goodson’s bloody AirPods, keys and bag of deli sandwiches at the scene of his murder for his family to collect and provide to federal investigators. Walton believes Goodson was listening to music and didn’t here Meade approach him, allegedly giving him commands before he shot him in the back.
“On the day that Jason Meade allegedly shouted commands at Casey that he allegedly ignored. It's likely that he was following his routine — AirPods in his ear entering his home, enjoying his life listening to music. And in fact, he was oblivious to the murderous threat that encountered him from behind,” Walton said.
Meade, whose first name is listed as Michael in court documents, “hunted” Goodson down, Walton said, yet the wheels of justice have been slow to turn on the former SWAT team member.
Meade's attorney Mark Collins has said that his client acted within the laws governing the actions of police officers. He wasn’t immediately available for comment Wednesday.
Meade pleaded not guilty last year in Franklin County Common Pleas Court to charges of murder and reckless homicide. He is free on $250,000 bond.
Meade, a white man, shot Goodson, who was Black, five times in the back on Dec. 4, 2020. The circumstances surrounding the shooting remain unclear. Meade has claimed Goodson waved a gun at him. Walton says the evidence doesn’t support that claim.
Walton said the case is plagued with continuance after continuance and won’t happen until sometime in 2023 or later.
“Meade has waived his right to speedy trial. And so it's indefinite. And at this point, we're losing witnesses, you know, memories are fading. So many things are happening that are denying justice to his family,” Walton said.
"What is more troubling at this time is how the Franklin County Prosecutor's Office and the Franklin County Board of Commissioners have abdicated the responsibility to the people of this county to offices who are elected and tasked with leading and protecting the people have failed miserably in addressing the misconduct of Jason Meade in the Franklin County Sheriff's Office,” Walton said.
He is calling on county Prosecutor Gary Tyack to back his motion calling for the civil case to move forward before the criminal trial is finished.
Tyack’s office deferred comments on the case to the special prosecutors who were appointed to oversee it. A commissioners’ spokesperson declined to comment on pending litigation.
Special prosecutor H. Tim Merkle said special prosecutors were selected because the prosecutor’s office regularly represents the sheriff’s office and that an “extensive and comprehensive investigation” was conducted by the Columbus Police Department, the FBI and the Department of Justice Office of Inspector General in pursuit of justice for the Goodson family.
“We sympathize with the Goodson family, and we are dedicated to achieving justice in the criminal matter,” Merkle states in an email.
Walton says pushing Meade's murder trial into next year gives cover to elected officials' inaction in implementing systemic changes, which leaves opportunities for similar shootings in the future.
“It's just a lack of urgency throughout this case with Franklin County. And it is not fair to this family,” Walton said.
Walton also called for an investigation into the hiring and assignment practices at the sheriff’s department. He said Meade wasn’t a suitable appointment to the SWAT team. An email sent to the office was not immediately returned Wednesday.