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Opening Arguments Alleged Casey Goodson Jr. Was Holding A Sandwich And Keys When Shot By Ohio Sheriff’s Deputy

The 23 year old was shot six times -- five times in his back.

Opening arguments in the Casey Goodson Jr. case revealed he was holding a sandwich and keys at the time of the deputy-involved shooting.

On Jan. 31, former Ohio sheriff’s deputy Jason Meade sat in a courtroom as his defense team and prosecutors painted a picture for the jury of what happened in 2020. The white officer pleaded not guilty to murder and reckless homicide in the death of Goodson, who was Black. The 23-year-old was shot six times – five times in his back – after the sheriff’s deputy entered the victim’s grandmother’s house. 

Special prosecutor Gary Shroyer told the jury that Goodson did have a gun holster on his hip, something his family never disputed, as he was a licensed firearm carrier. Also, being found with Airpods in his ears, Shroyer said Goodson was never a threat to Meade. “Casey did not pose a reasonable threat to him or anybody else at the moment when he pulled the trigger,” Shroyer said.

With the officer aiming at “vital organs” with an assault-style rifle, the prosecutor claims Meade’s actions could be looked at as intentional in causing Goodson’s death. Meade later pursued Goodson to his grandmother’s house, where he said the victim turned to lift his gun and aimed it at the deputy, causing Meade to fire.

Stephens continued saying the victim did not adhere to warnings to stop and drop his weapon, and the officer feared for his life and the safety of others. “You have to look at the totality of the circumstances,” Stephens told the jury. “Officers on the beat are not afforded the luxury of hindsight.”

However, prosecutors say the gun in question was later found in the victim’s kitchen – with the safety on, according to The Associated Press. No evidence of the shooting was presented, as Meade was not wearing a body camera at the time. 

Goodson’s family filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office. The suit claims the office failed to investigate claims of unreasonable force against its Black residents. It also alleges the force failed to train deputies on how to fire guns at civilians – targeting African Americans. 

The suit was paused by a federal judge due to the ongoing criminal case. Meade alleged defending himself in both cases would put him in a no-win situation. After Meade’s attorneys fought to have their client’s case tried in federal court, in February 2022, a federal judge ruled that at the time of the shooting, Meade was not acting in his U.S. marshal role, and the murder case was to remain in state court. 

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