The mother of a young Black man shot in the back by a police officer in Ohio is speaking out for the first time and questioning why her son was “murdered in cold blood.”
Casey Goodson Jr. was killed Friday in Columbus as he attempted to walk into his grandmother’s home while holding Subway sandwiches that Franklin County Sheriff’s Deputy Jason Meade apparently and inexplicably mistook for a gun. The 23-year-old’s mother claims the police have changed stories multiple times, prompting suspicion of some kind of a coverup.
“My son was murdered in cold blood, and we don’t have no answers as to why he was murdered,” Tamala Payne told CBS News on Wednesday. “It is not a question to me at all at this time if my son was murdered or not.”
Payne said she has been left with more questions than answers since law enforcement hasn’t been fully forthcoming or transparent.
“While police claim that Casey drove by, waving a gun, and was confronted by the deputy after exiting his vehicle, that narrative leaves out key details that raise cause for extreme concern,” a press release by Walton + Brown, LLP, the law firm representing his family along with Friedman & Gilbert, said in part.
Payne took issue with that narrative. She called Meade a “coward” who “does not have enough guts to answer the questions as to why my son’s life was taken.”
She said “Casey would never ride by waving his gun at anybody, let alone a police officer.”
Local police offered a slightly different account, saying Meade, who was working with the U.S. Marshals Service Fugitive Task Force in an unelated case, saw “a man with a gun” while he was looking for other suspects.
“They recanted that story because that was so far-fetched,” Payne said of the initial allegations. “Because if he rolled by waving a gun, how was my son ever, ever, ever allowed to even exit the vehicle and walk across two yards into a back gate and get killed as he was going into his home?”
Goodson’s family says he was returning home from a trip to the dentist and brought three Subway sandwiches with him. He was shot in the back as he attempted to walk into his grandmother’s home. His house keys were still dangling from the lock after he was killed. He reportedly died in front of his 72-year-old grandmother and his two toddler children. An autopsy listed the cause of death as homicide and said the killing was the result of “multiple gunshot wounds to the torso.”
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost declined to take up the case citing that Columbus police took three days to bring the case to their attention. Columbus police also waited two days before they released Goodson’s name as the victim.
“We received a referral to take a three-day-old officer-involved shooting case,” a spokesperson for Yost said in a statement Monday night. “Not knowing all the reasons as to why so much time has passed before the case was referred to [Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation], we cannot accept this case.”
Yost, a Republican, refused to accept the case in light of an order signed by Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther which enabled the state attorney general’s office to investigate all deaths involving the Columbus Police Department.
Instead, U.S. Attorney David M. DeVillers in Ohio will take up the case with the aid of the Justice Department and the Bureau of Criminal Investigation.
On Tuesday, Ginther expressed his gratefulness to the U.S. Department of Justice and FBI for planning to join the investigation after the local community demanded transparency in a fast-evolving investigation that has raised suspicion and concerns.
Police maintain they recovered a gun at the scene, but Goodson’s family lawyer confirmed he had a license to carry a concealed weapon.
“We don’t know if he had a gun on him, unfortunately, because we don’t have answers at this point about what happened that led Jason Meade to choose to take Casey’s life that day,” attorney Sean Walton said. “But, you know, if he did have a gun on him, it would not be a surprise because he had every right to have a gun on him that day. And that in itself is not a crime at all.”