The FBI and the Department of Justice will join the Columbus police investigation into the police killing of Casey Goodson Jr., a 23-year-old Black man who was fatally shot last week in Columbus, Ohio by a sheriff’s deputy.
U.S. Attorney David DeVillers announced federal authorities’ involvement in the investigation, which will be conducted alongside the Columbus Police Critical Incident Response Team, on Tuesday, reports USA Today. The Civil Rights Division of the DOJ is looking at the case to determine whether Franklin County Sheriff’s SWAR Deputy Jason Meade violated federal civil rights laws when he shot Goodson last Friday afternoon.
The Sheriff’s office claims that it had finished an unsuccessful search operation when deputies encountered Goodson, who they say waved a firearm at police. Goodson did not drop the weapon, and Meade subsequently shot at him, police records say.
But Goodson’s family disputes the police narrative, saying that he not only had a valid license to carry a concealed weapon but was actually carrying a Subway sandwich while trying to enter his home when he was shot.
His family says Goodson was shot in the back three times. An autopsy has yet to be released. As a Goodson family attorney told CNN, the young man was not alleged to have committed any crimes and had no criminal background, nor was he the target of any investigation.
The killing has roiled Columbus’ Black community, which activists say is exhausted after a summer of racial justice protests. As CNN notes, Columbus has long had racial tensions, rooted in the same causes as many other American cities: redlining, segregation and gentrification. According to a study from the University of Toronto, the city is the fourth most economically segregated metro area in the country.
Some activists have pointed to Goodson’s killing as further evidence that the city—and the country at large—needs to change its outlook on law enforcement.
“A crisis of this magnitude calls for a massive realignment of power,” Movement for Black Lives spokeswoman Chelsea Fuller told CNN. “That realignment can and will happen through defunding the police, reducing their bloated budgets, and re-investing those resources in the creation of new systems of public safety that account for all lives, not just some.”
Rallies in support of Goodson and his family have been planned for Friday and Saturday in Columbus.