Casey Goodson Hearing – February 6, 2021, 12 pm Eastern
Transcript: Hearing on the Case of Casey Goodson
- Rapporteur Prof. Horace Campbell
- Commissioner Prof. Mireille Fanon-Mendes-France
- Commissioner Sir Clare Roberts
- Ms. Tamala Payne, mother of Casey Goodson
- Ms. Sarah Gelsomino, attorney for the Goodson family
Horace Campbell 00:17
Good afternoon, which is afternoon time in New York. Good evening in Paris, Mireille. Good afternoon in the Caribbean. Good afternoon to everyone. Today is the sixth of February in the United States of America. Welcome to the hearings of the International Commission of Inquiry on systemic racist police violence against people of African descent in the United States. These hearings are a process by which witnesses can present accounts of the unjustified killings and namings of Black individuals by police officers in the United States before an international panel of human rights experts. We now begin the hearing in the case of Casey Goodson. My name is Horace Campbell, and I’m the rapporteur for this area. Presiding over this hearing is Commissioner Claire Roberts of Antigua and Commissioner Mireille Fanon-Mendes-France of France. The first witness for the hearing – the witnesses for the hearing are Sarah Gelsomino and Tamala Payne. There’ll be 50 minutes for this hearing. Witnesses will testify, followed by a period of questions from the commissioners. I will call time at the 30 minute mark and at the45 minute mark. Please excuse my interventions, commissioners Roberts, and Fanon-Mendes-France, I now present to you. Sarah Gelsomino. Sarah Gelsomino,
Sarah Gelsomino 02:27
Horace Campbell 02:29
Please confirm your name.
Sarah Gelsomino 02:31
I am Sarah Gelsomino.
Horace Campbell 02:33
Do you promise that your testimony to the commission of inquiry will be true to the best of your knowledge and belief?
Sarah Gelsomino 02:40
Horace Campbell 02:41
You may begin.
Sarah Gelsomino 02:43
Thank you. I first want to thank you, Mr. Campbell, thank you to the commissioners and to the commission entirely for convening this very, very important series of hearings about the human rights rights crisis that we are continuing to experience here in the United States with police violence against Black people in particular. I have the great honor and privilege of representing the family of Casey Goodson Jr. I am a civil rights lawyer at the law firm of Friedman, Gilbert and Gerhardstein, and I represent the family of Casey along with Sean Walton and Shonda Brown from the Walton Brown law firm in Columbus, Ohio. Ms. Payne is here with us today. Ms. Payne is Casey’s mother, and she will be the next witness. It has been 64 days since Casey Goodson Jr. was murdered by Franklin County Deputy Sheriff Jason Meade. Franklin County is the county, is a county in Central Ohio. It is the county in which Columbus, Ohio sits; Columbus is the capital of the state. Casey was 23 years old when he was murdered. Ms. Payne will tell you more about Casey’s life but he was a particularly vibrant and loving and hard working young man and he was killed for no other reason other than he was a black man who was in legal possession of a firearm. He was killed as he was walking into his own home. He was shot in the back multiple times as he walks through the door to his home. He fell onto his kitchen floor where his family found him before they were all ordered out of the house by gunpoint at gunpoint by other police officers who poured into the home after need shot Casey. Casey was not committing any crime when he was shot. He did not pose a threat to any officer or anyone else. He was walking into his home his home filled with his family. At the time there were nine family members inside that house, five adults and four children.
Now it’s important context in understanding this case that in the state of Ohio, as in many states in the United States of America, the right to carry a firearm is a deeply cherished and protected right. First of all, Ohio is what we call an open carry state. It means that it is entirely legal to carry firearms including large firearms like assault rifles. Often we see more right wing protesters including recently anti mask protesters, protesting without any issue while carrying openly very large firearms without any incident or intervention from the police. Often these protesters are white. Often these protesters are in Columbus, Ohio, because that is where the State House of the government is. The state of Ohio also has laws regulating the use of concealed carry firearms. If a person in the state attends a class, a concealed carry class and obtains a license, then they are legally permitted to carry a concealed firearm. Casey was a gun rights advocate. He did take and complete his concealed carry class. He did have his CCW license, and he did regularly carry firearms. On December 4, as he did on most other days, he did have a pistol. That morning, December 4, Casey got up and went to the dentist. He spoke to his mother. He stopped at Subway on his way home to grab lunch for him and his family and he drove home for what would end up being the last time. At that time, there was police activity in the neighborhood. This police activity had nothing at all to do with Casey or anyone associated with Casey.
There was US Marshals Task Force, a fugitive task force that was attempting to serve an arrest warrant to a person who lived nearby. This warrant, as I said, had nothing to do with Casey. The United States Marshals Fugitive Task Force. I don’t know if any other evidence has been presented to you about any of their activities throughout this hearing, but they are notorious nationwide for using excessive and unnecessary force, including deadly force. They are a task force of the United States Marshals, so a federal agency, but they work with local law enforcement officers, so a local law enforcement department will nominate or appoint certain members of that department to join the task force to conduct these searches for fugitives. That activity, that US Marshal activity in that neighborhood, we believe to have been completely unnecessary that day. They were looking for a person who had just been indicted. That person was not even aware that there was a warrant out for his arrest yet he was indicted for drug related, drug trafficking related charges. He had done nothing to warrant an aggressive police presence to search for him to conduct this warrant. They that he was at work actually, when the US Marshals went to his home to look for him. They showed up heavily armed and extremely aggressive. They did interact with this man’s mother and sister in a very aggressive harassing and threatening way. And they left apparently frustrated because they failed to find this man who they were looking for. It is our understanding that when this man actually learned that he had a warrant for his arrest, he turned himself in voluntarily without any incident. So again, the taskforce did not need to go out and threaten and terrify a neighborhood and escalate a situation which will eventually lead to the murder of Casey Goodson. They shouldn’t have been there in the first place.
But when they left, this is when Jason Meade, who was working with that task force that day, apparently still hyped up from his failed mission. still heavily armed with his assault rifle, which he carried during that failed mission, came across Casey. I’d like to take some time to talk about Jason Meade. Jason Meade has an extraordinarily sordid past as a police officer. He should not be a police officer. And I want to make sure to note so I don’t forget later, he is still a police officer. He has had no discipline there has been no, he has not been removed from the force. He has not been fired. He has had no consequences for his actions when he chose to take the life of Casey Goodson in December. So as a deputy, what we do know of his background is as I said, problematic. Jason Meade was involved in one other use of deadly force that we know of that happened in 2018. That was also during a time where he was tasked to the US Marshals Task Force. He fired along with many others at a trailer in Pike County, Ohio, and two people ended up dead. He was not disciplined. That shooting was found justified as police shootings in the United States typically are, and he suffered no consequences for taking the lives of those two people. In 2019, Meade was justified for using a taser without notifying his supervisors in violation of policy. In 2010, his supervisor noted that Meade was content with doing the quote bare minimum to get by at his job at that time, interestingly, he was assigned to investigate civilian complaints against police officers and he failed to investigate them. He was transferred out of a special unit because of insubordination of his superiors.
And for years as a corrections officer also at the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department, he was not permitted to have any contact with inmates. Contact with inmates is like the primary role of a corrections officer, but because of his behavior and an internal affairs investigation into his conduct, the department felt it necessary to remove him from any conduct any contact with inmates, yet he remained a deputy and does to this day. And as if all of these warning signs were not enough, over the years to question Meade’s fitness to serve as a police officer, his own public statements, in which he justifies his use of force by relying on his faith in his Christian God. That should have been enough to warn the department that he is a dangerous man who is unfit to be a police officer. At this point, I’d like to play for you some excerpts of Jason Meade himself talking about his belief in how force can and should be used as a righteous release, and how he uses his faith to justify that release. This is an excerpt from a YouTube video that was put out actually by the department and a sermon that he gave where many of his supervisors and colleagues were present.
Charlotte Kates 13:13
Excuse me, Miss Gelsomino, just to let you know, my apologies, the audio on your screenshare is not is not working. I believe that when you do your screen share from zoom, make sure that you have checked at the bottom to share audio and optimize for video clip. Because otherwise, it just provides garbled sounds thanks so much.
Video Audio (Jason Meade) 13:39
The Bible doesn’t –
Sarah Gelsomino 13:40
Charlotte Kates 13:43
The audio is fine now. Thank you so much.
Video Audio (Jason Meade) 13:45
— doesn’t contradict our involvement in the community. It complements it. Everything that everything that I do on a daily basis, is complemented by the word of God. The greatest servant that will ever know of ever in the history of this world is Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, he was the servant of all servants. What a way we serve the public, there is times for righteous release. That’s what I call it when we have a use of force. Because every now and then you have to actually use force. We don’t go around looking for it because we don’t have to play. People out there would give you that opportunity. So we don’t have to be bullies going looking for it. That’s why I say it’s a righteous release, there is released in our job that righteously we can actually have a use of force. And I’ve had people say, how can you, how can you hurt someone? You know, Jesus said, turn the other cheek and I say read your Bible. He talks about physically getting slapped in the side of the face. And when he’s saying that it’s an offense to his name. Hold on, am I suffering from crime and criminals in the name of Jesus? No, this isn’t this isn’t for his name’s sake. So that’s why we take the Bible out of context. When we take service out of context, like you can’t be a man and be a Christian. Jesus was the malest man in the history of mankind.
Right why and I’m sure — You know what David did, he threw the first punch. He threw the first punch. All this to throw the first punch. You say what? I don’t know. Let me tell you something. I’m an I work for the sheriff’s office down in Franklin County, Columbus, I’m working on tactical SWAT team. And also work for the US Marshals Task Force. I hunt people. It’s a great job. I love it. I got a bunch of my my SWAT members here. And even my bosses are here. I appreciate them coming out, the good men of God. I’m glad you came out to support us today. But they’ll let you know. I’ve worked this job for 10 years now. I never been hit clean in the face one time. So it ain’t cuz I’m so good. I ain’t bad, but it ain’t because I’m so good. You know why? Because I learned long ago, I gotta throw the first punch. And I learned while go why I’m justified in throwing the first punch. Don’t look up here like oh, police brutality. The people I hit, you wish you could hit Trust me. Right? Haha. Yeah. Every time I hit him, I’m like, That’s for you. That’s for you. That’s for you. That’s not that bad. It’s not It’s not that bad. I’m kidding. Listen, it’s the truth. You throw a punch. And the pursuit will follow. You want unity – they arose, is gonna bother some of you, and shouted and pursued the Philistines, and by will put the devil on the run. Favorite. My favorite part is when the devil gets put on the run.
And let me tell you why. Look what keeps going. They pursued. The punch was thrown, the damage was dealt the champion fell, the enemy ran. Now this army is full of courage. They’re reminded of the promise. They’re reminded of the anointing. They’re reminded there’s a God in heaven that reminded that there is victory in Jesus. They run after them, and they chased them off. Yes, Praise the Lord. Do they fold their tents? Are we saying somebody needs a punch? Today, somebody needs to throw the first punch. David was the first one to do it. And then what happened? Everybody followed. I tell you, it’s contagious. When my SWAT guys throws a punch, I got thrown into the truth. We have this little saying, Hey, if you’re gonna get in trouble, we get in trouble too. You get days off, I get days off to will make a vacation out of it. I mean, they know I mean, because the best part about it is if you run them off, on your way back, you’re gonna pick up all the spoils. The hardest part about it is somebody needs to make the first mount, somebody’s got to throw first punch. And as soon as that punch is thrown, everybody gonna say Oh, that looks fun. That looks good. He’s got his enemy down. I want to go after mine.
Sarah Gelsomino 18:21
That’s Jason Meade. That is an officer who joked about hunting people, jokes about police brutality, jokes about throwing the first punch. And he did it all in front of his supervisor, in front of his colleagues, and no one did anything about it. He was allowed back on the street, he is still permitted back on the street with the power of the badge, and that is the man who killed Casey Goodson Jr. Now, Casey was just killed in December of 2020. And the investigation into that use of force is ongoing. So we unfortunately have a lot of questions that are not answered still. And Tamala will speak to that. But what we do know is that Meade approached Casey outside of his home. As I said Casey wasn’t involved in any kind of illegal activity. We know from the statements of lawyers who represent Jason Meade, that Meade will claim that Casey pointed the gun, aimed a gun at me. However, that is wholly out of character. For a person like Casey, Casey had no criminal background. He had never had any problems with the police. He worked and he took care of his family and he believed in lawful legal gun ownership. He took that very seriously and he and he was very safe with his firearms. So it’s just an incredulous claim that this young man as he was standing at the back door of his house with a bag of Subway sandwiches for his family would have pointed a gun at the police officer and refused to drop it. It doesn’t make sense.
Meade wasn’t wearing a body camera. So unfortunately, we don’t know exactly what happened and we, but we know that he will try to justify his behavior and we know that the ranks of police officers around him will gather together to try to cover up his misconduct. Immediately after his shooting of Casey, not only the federal Marshals, but also the Franklin County Deputy Sheriff came out claiming that the shooting was justified they had no reason to say that but that they were trying to cover up the actions of their deputy and prevent any kind of thorough and fair investigation into this case. Thankfully, the FBI and the Department of Justice have come in to investigate this case, and thus far, we believe that they are doing their best to have a thorough and fair investigation. And we are hopeful that some justice will result from that investigation, but we are still waiting. Meade shot Casey with an assault rifle. He fired multiple times. He fired through the like, outside screen door, Casey opened the outside screen door which was glass at the time. And then there was the interior wooden door as he was between those doors. Entering into his kitchen he was shot some of the assault rifle bullets went through the metal screen on that screen door and left three bullet holes in that screen before they went into Casey’s back. His grandma saw him laying on the kitchen floor with gunshots to his back. Family inside never heard any warnings, they had no idea that there was any kind of commotion outside. The first thing that they heard was gunshots, glass shattering, they ran into the kitchen, and they saw Casey lying on the kitchen floor dying and then they were ordered out of the house.
I’d like to pass this off to Tamala. Because I want to make sure that we have plenty of time for questions. But I do want to raise one issue about accountability. And this because he was acting as a US Marshal, or on the US Marshals task force at the time that he shot and killed Casey, there is a very interesting area of additional impunity that I think needs to be raised to the attention of this commission. When there is a local law enforcement officer tasked to with federal powers, they get lost in the system, that off –To become a federal officer, there’s particular training, and schooling and requirements that the officer has to achieve. I doubt that Jason Meade could have achieved any of those. But the way that this task force works is that the task force just takes the word of the local law enforcement agency and takes on whomever the agency recommends. They don’t do any kind of as far as we know, they don’t do any kind of research or checking or additional training of any of these local law enforcement agencies before they bring them on to conduct federal business. And then the question becomes, not only do we have an issue with training, but who is in charge of oversight, who is in charge of discipline? Will he be disciplined? Should he be disciplined through the federal agency, but they don’t really have authority over him? Or should he be disciplined through the local law enforcement agency, but they can take, they can cover themselves by claiming he wasn’t actually working on our business. He was doing the federal business. So what we see around the country in these kinds of cases is that these officers and with no real investigation or discipline, because both of the law enforcement bodies can point their fingers at each other, and then these officers just continue using force without ever learning, not even having any retraining or any kind of employment consequences, let alone criminal consequences, for their illegal use of force.
So we implore you as the commission to please help us demand justice for Casey, not only a thorough investigation, but also criminal charges. And also, Jason Meade must be fired. He cannot continue to be a police officer putting people at risk every day while he is out there with a badge and a gun and the power of the state. He is clearly unfit for this job. He’s clearly dangerous. Casey should never have even had an interaction with him, let alone been killed by him. In December of this year, he should have been celebrating his 24th birthday at the end of January with his family. Jason Meade cannot continue to be a police officer. He cannot take one more life or hurt one more person. Thank you again. I’m going to pass it off to Ms. Payne now to speak to us about Casey and then we’ll be available for questions.
Horace Campbell 25:08
Thank you very much. We’ve now passed the 26 minute mark. Commissioner, I’m going to swear in Tamala Payne, Commissioner Roberts and Commissioner Mireille Fanon-Mendes-France, I now present to you the second witness, Tamala Payne. Tamala Payne, please confirm your name.
Tamala Payne 25:40
Horace Campbell 25:43
Do you promise that your testimony to commission of ninuiry will be true to the best of your knowledge and belief? I repeat do your promise that your testimony to commission of inquiry will be true to the best of your knowledge and belief.
Charlotte Kates 26:10
Can you hear? It looks like Ms. Payne’s screen went black, like she lost her connection. You know she can always phone in if necessary. I think she’s back.
Tamala Payne 26:34
My name is Tamala Payne.
Horace Campbell 26:36
Good. Thank you. Let me repeat. Do you promise that your testaments to the commission of inquiry will be true to the best of your knowledge and belief?
Tamala Payne 26:48
Horace Campbell 26:50
You may begin.
Tamala Payne 26:53
My name is Tamala Payne. I am the mother of Casey Goodson, Jr, and as Sarah Gelsomino said, he was executed on December 4 2020. Before I talk about that day, you know Casey was a good kid. My son has never been in trouble with the law, period. My son believe heavily in gun ownership. He did all the right things to obtain his guns, he did obtain his license. All his guns legally. He carried them legally, he shot them legally at a gun range. He, he was very, very big on gun licensing if you carried a gun. He convinced my sister to get her CCW license, he convinced my other son to get his CCW license. Casey was a very hard working man at the age of 23. Casey had already obtained his CDL license. In December 2019, he just came off work from driving cross country for Walmart in California for six months. Casey had started his own independent carwash business, carwash and detailing business. Casey was just a kid that did everything right and did everything for himself. I mean, it was a senseless murder. He’s a very big protector. He protected. I have 10 children. He’s the oldest. He was not only a big brother to his siblings, he was a father figure as well. He was very involved in my other children’s lives. He, when he came off the road in 2019. I had just it was Christmas time and I was pregnant with twins that were due in February but I went into labor early on December 28. And gave birth to the twins and they were premature and they did a couple weeks in the NICU. Casey was supposed to go back out on the road, because he chose to stay home with me to help me take care of the twins and got a job here at home so that he could be home to help with the kids. So that should give you a little idea of the type of person that Casey is.
On December 4, you know, well, early that morning at about 4am Casey had texted me and told me that he loved me. Casey worked nights so he wouldn’t get off until 3am. And I work nights as well. And I didn’t get off till about 7am so we will communicate a lot during the night but he did text me that morning out the blue and said I love you. But a whole bunch of exclamation behind it. Not texting back. That day my five year old had a cold so when I dropped the twins off at the daycare center. I couldn’t drop my five year old off because of the pandemic and the cold thing. I called my mom and let my mom know that I will be bringing him there, which Casey lived with my mother. And when I got there, Casey wasn’t there. So I took my son in but when I left out, I called Casey. Casey had got up that day and went to the dentist. He was in the dentist’s chair when I called on him and we talked for a minute and we lost connection. He texts me like mama, the dentist had her fingers in my mouth and I’m like you good, because I was on my way to my second job. And two hours, by approximately two hours later, I got a phone call from my my five year old who witnessed the murder, the execution. He is screaming at the top of his lungs. Mommy, mommy get here. Casey just got shot. He’s laying on the kitchen floor. Mommy’s, he’s dead get here, Mommy I’m so scared. I’m so scared. I’m so scared. And you know, of course, I’m like, Casey got shot? Who would shoot Casey? like, who would shoot Casey, like, my son’s never been in the street. You know, the clubs, you know, hang out with a whole bunch of friends or none of that. So you know, my mind is everywhere. And I’m not ready. It’s my five year old but he’s screaming and crying and I know it’s something well, so I’m trying to call my daughter. And when I call my daughter she’s like, Mommy, somebody’s shot Casey. We don’t know who it is. They look like the police but we’re not sure. So I rushed there. And I get to the scene and by this time they took Casey on the stretcher, but the US Marshals is out there. The Columbus police department is out there. There won’t they won’t tell us nothing. They won’t tell us where they took Casey. They’re out, of course, I’m irate. And I’m yelling and screaming and I, they’re calling me on my name and telling us to get back and he didn’t point a gun at me. But he stood at a stance with his gun. Basically, if I came any farther, you know, he was it was like in a threatening manner.
I couldn’t even go to the hospital to see what was, if he dead, if he was alive at all because they wouldn’t tell me where he was or where they took him. or her family was out there and they were just rude. They held my family at gunpoint. My brother had his three year old daughter in his hand and the same man that murdered my son as he stood over my son’s dead body. He pointed the gun at my brother and his three year old daughter, ordered them to get out of the house before he shoots them too. My 18 year old daughter didn’t have any clothes on whatsoever. They made her go out, my mother 72 year old mother see Casey’s body laying on the floor. She was able to tell us where some of the bullet holes were. They took them outside in the cold, no coat, no shoes, they wouldn’t let them get the keys to the car. They kept them out of the car for hours, freezing cold without anything, because they said they had to be questioned. They would they said they weren’t gonna give me my five year old but he was always terrified, that I told him to run over the tank, right under the tank and come to me. So I was able to get him.
We found out on the scene that Casey, he was pronounced dead. They alerted the Columbus police department and there was an officer out there that was that was communicating with my sister. So he alerted my sister. So we found out on the scene that Casey had died. Let me afterwards I left the scene, because it was no reason for me to still be out there. And my five year old was so hysterical. We all gathered at my home. My mother had a stroke that night, from being overwhelmed. She fell in her head. She was in hospital for a few days. She did get out the hospital. But recently she started deteriorating. I knew something was wrong. So my sister and I rushed her to the emergency room, when she hit her head at night. Her head has been bleeding since she just underwent brain surgery. Which all stems from December 4 when Jason Meade executed my son for no reason. We really don’t have no answers. The FBI is working with us. I do believe in my heart they are doing everything that they can. But it’s been 64 days like Sarah said the murderer still has a job. We don’t know if he’s on paid leave still. We don’t know if he’s working in the department. We’re not getting any answers. His boss refuses to speak with me. I’ve requested to speak with him several times he refuses to have any communication with me whatsoever. His name is Dallas Baldwin. He is Jason Meade’s boss. He is the one that put Jason Meade on the assignment when he knew Jason Meade was not a suitable officer to be put on any type of assignment of that nature. We were worried like that. Yeah.
He doesn’t deserve to have a job. He he doesn’t, I mean, we need justice. You know, I do ask you guys that you know if there’s anything that y’all can help us do in our pursuit of justice for Casey that you do that and getting Meade fired, I believe. When it first happened. I don’t know that he was on a paid leave. I don’t know how long that that leave was. I don’t know if he’s still being paid. Like he said in his sermons. These are vacations to him. This is a vacation. He could kill a man in cold blood. He shot my son multiple times in his back through a door. My son was dead in between the screen door and a big door. Yep, with his key in the big door. turned the key it was able to open the door. And then he got shot as he was stepping up into his home, is a cold blooded murder. My son could not have been a threat to you. His back was to you. Every bullet hole my son took went through a door. How was he pointing a gun at you? He had Subway sandwiches in one hand and was opening his door with the other. But we’re here 64 days later. With no answers, no arrest, no charges. This man still has a job. We don’t know where he’s at. If he’s paid, if he’s working, do they got him in the office working, is he at home working, is he at home collecting money on his vacation like he calls it? We don’t know. We just want justice.
Sarah Gelsomino 36:53
Thank you, Tamala.
Horace Campbell 36:55
Thank you very much. commissioners. The
Mireille Fanon-Mendes-France 37:08
Horace Campbell 37:10
Mireille Fanon-Mendes-France 37:11
Thank you. Thank you attorney Gelsomino. And thank you, Mrs. Payne. I have a one or three questions. First. It’s, I would like to understand in the short report in the short material we got yesterday, is it not The Bureau of criminal investigation, said, we cannot accept this case because so much time has passed before the case was referred to BCI. I’m sorry. And I would like to know if there is some limitation or regular limitation by law for that? Maybe I ask another question. Sure. Okay. And Okay. Um, so the, Meade’s attorney Mark Collins said on the on the 24th December, Meade had not yet met with investigators, which is said, which said Mark Collins, it’s uncommon and ask about that, to understand why there is no no meeting with investigator after the murder of, of, excuse me, of Casey. And if I may also I am wondering, when is the church when we just heard his speech at a church? It’s really it’s hate speech. Because the content of his speech is hate speech. And I’m wondering if there is no rule, no law about hate speech? Because really, it justify using God to kill people. And it is what the Ku Klux Klan could say. And really, it’s it’s it’s it is an issue I think for us it is an issue to to see very deeply. What does it mean when people have hate speech and nothing is done against them and they can continue their job and kill people as, and without reason, without any reason? And for that also, my last question, and I’m sorry, to Sir Roberts. Last question, is concerning, is there a conflict of interest between his role at a church and his job as a police, as a representative of law, of a state law representative?
Sarah Gelsomino 40:22
Thank you for those very considered questions. And there’s really even though we don’t have so much information about the investigation, there really is so much here to unpack and I would be happy to supply you with additional materials after the hearing and so try to follow up if we aren’t able to cover all of these. The investigation issue here was very unique, I believe, and, and I am glad that you brought it up. Typically, well, right immediately after Casey was murdered, the Columbus division of police brought in their investigation team. And they did an investigation for a period of days. They held that investigation for three days. The Columbus division of police critical incident review team, CIRT, they call it, is an extremely problematic organization that has been — there is an immense amount of information and evidence that has been uncovered regarding CIRT over the years to show that they just immediately consider the shooting to be justified. They treat the it is their policy that the officer who shoots is not to be treated as a suspect and should never feel that they are a suspect. And all of those investigations end up with a justified finding. It is a kangaroo court kind of investigation. And it is not a true investigation. However, for three days, the Columbus division of police held that scene and was in charge of the investigation.. After those days they realized, much in part, I think due to public pressure, that they needed to get an independent agency in to evaluate this shooting. They asked to the Bureau of criminal investigations which is our state investigatory body to come in and and investigate.
That is very normal in the state of Ohio for a law enforcement agency to call in BCI, to do the investigation after a shooting to provide some kind of independent, or at least, you know, hope, more independent than the than the agency itself, investigating the use of force. However, BCI said, we don’t know what’s been happening for three days on the scene, evidence can be compromised, witnesses gone, we’re not going to touch it. They refuse to get involved because they believed that the Columbus division of police could have so messed it up in those days that they couldn’t be sure that they could do a good and thorough investigation. Then it was kind of in limbo for a little while until thankfully, the FBI agreed to come in and conduct a real investigation. And they have, as we’ve stated, appear to be doing so. So there was a real hot potato here for a while. And unfortunately, we will never know we may never know exactly how much evidence was compromised in those few days, and how the investigation could be, you know, permanently flawed as a result of those days of mishandling by the Columbus division of police. In terms of Meade’s involvement, or statement, he did not give a statement until weeks after the shooting, and much time to consult with his legal team, his legal defense team. Often unfortunately, in police shootings, we see that police officers, the the person who uses the force, who should be the person being investigated for that use of force for criminal and internal charges, is not forced to give a statement for a long time. They are not taken into custody immediately there. They have like a support team that surrounds them and they are taken away from the scene and they go home. And then they get to meet with not only their union representatives, but also their their criminal defense team, their legal team before they give a statement. And often that does not happen for a while and that is what happened here, too.
I, we have no reason to think that the FBI didn’t want to talk to him any sooner. I believe that they did want to speak to Meade as soon as possible. But it was a long time before he submitted to a statement. I’m glad you brought up hate laws. In fact, Attorney Walton and I were discussing that just this morning when we were discussing Meade’s statements. I do believe that that is hate speech. It is horrifyingly dangerous and upsetting speech. And this is again why we believe that the department needs to fire him and take some really drastic action here and we will see what kind of charges the FBI and the Department of Justice are considering, if any, to present to a grand jury. We don’t know that yet. But there are hate hate speech, there are hate crime laws in this country that could be considered, I believe. And in terms of the conflict of interest between the way that he is justifying his police activity through his belief in his God, there is just a lot there, I, I’m not sure exactly how to address that in a short period of time, except that I do think it is problematic, because he clearly is following him the laws of his God in the way that he interprets them, and put that above and beyond the laws of this country and the laws of this state. And when he can step outside the bounds of the Constitution, and murder a young Black man, and then justify that, through the his belief in his God, there is a major problem. And we hope that people can see that very clearly. I’m glad that you raised that here today. And it needs to be dealt with, and he needs to be fired.
Horace Campbell 46:12
We have passed the five minute mark. I’m sure Sir Clare has questions.
Sir Clare Roberts 46:22
I do thank you very much. Mrs Payne, I give you my deepest condolences, this tragic killing of your son, on behalf of myself and this international commission. Please know that by this hearing, the tragedy is being given an international spotlight. Know that you are not alone, be strong. I have two questions. One has to do with the recruitment, discipline and discipline of police officers. How can it be that a Jason Meade with this sordid past is still a police officer? So what in the system is there to supervise, monitor and discipline policemen? Ms. Gelsomino spoke of oversight, is there an oversight board committee that reviews complaints. retraining? what sort of retraining is there? So that that is one. What in the system can pick up these warning signs of unfitness to be in the force? That is one. The other question, very quickly, is how much faith can the family and the public place that the system that exists now will bring about justice? For instance, will the investigation, how much faith can they place in that the investigation will be independent, that the prosecutors will not be on the side of the police? So those are my two quick questions.
Sarah Gelsomino 48:43
I will address the first one quickly and then Tamala maybe you can address the second about this, what you hope from the system and whether you believe that it can bring you any kind of justice. In terms of the system and the culture of policing. I mean, this is I’m sure you’ve heard this multiple times throughout the duration of this this tribunal. There is a culture of impunity throughout policing in this country that is insidious, and unchecked. There are multiple layers of protections for police officers that have completely created a system of police officers running wild without any true discipline or supervision. Police unions play a part in that because they, they control they have very large and unchecked power in terms of protecting, setting up procedural protections for their police officers when it comes to discipline. And municipalities agree to those demands of the unions. There are improper disciplinary systems within the department. And I believe that one of the things that can help that is Is the implementation of effective early warning systems, we see that in some departments where there a true early warning system could flag someone like Jason Meade. If you have a number of concerning issues, then those should be flagged and consolidated and reviewed regularly and proactively to try to catch those people who are doing bad within the department. But the code of silence wherein this, this this brotherhood of police officers where they protect each other. Whereas Jason Meade said in his video that you know, one of them throws in a punch then the others, others will just jump in without thinking. And then afterwards, they support each other by covering up that misconduct, regularly lying in police reports, regularly lying in statements and supervisors do nothing to stop it. I have police misconduct cases in many states in this country, unfortunately, either 15 or 16 from Ohio, and I see this in departments throughout the entire state.
This is it’s the same problem over and over. Qualified immunity, I’m sure has been raised to you. That is a legal doctrine, a court created doctrine that provides massive immunity for police officers and prevents any any kind of legal accountability in civil rights cases. And that must end. And there is a movement to end qualified immunity because every time the courts say that what the officer did, with that an officer cannot be held civilly liable for constitutional violations. It sends a message to other officers, not just in that department, but across the country that they can continue to get away with this. And I do believe that your your comment about an oversight board is an important one. There is no statewide oversight commission of police here, there is no professional association, mandating particular training or oversight of police officers within this state. And I do think that that could help with an officer. If an officer, as lawyers and many other professions have professional boards that monitor their behavior and complaints against them, that could help with policing. And that doesn’t happen. We often see even civilian complaints made against police officers are discounted, they’re not considered part of employment reviews. And they’re not considered. You’re not even added into any early warning system that do exist in many departments that I work with. So if a civilian is making a complaint of excessive force, it kind of often just falls flat, and it’s not incorporated into a holistic review of a police officer’s behavior. I could go on and on. And again, if there’s additional questions, please go ahead and ask them. But I would like to give Tamala the last word and an opportunity to discuss very quickly, her concept of justice and the system.
Tamala Payne 53:02
It’s hard to have faith. Although I do believe that the FBI is conducting a thorough transparent investigation. I’m really left with no choice but to put my trust in them. I don’t really have faith now. I try to keep my faith more in God. Better police at the end of the day, they all protect each other. I am praying that they see that this was a senseless cold blooded execution done by a man who uses his gun and badge, to murder a Black man, he uses his religious beliefs in his church and his platform to brag on probable police brutality, and how he uses excessive force and also how he kills, you know, innocent people. So I’m just praying. There’s not a lot of faith in the justice system. They failed us countless times, you know, I’m left with no choice but to put my trust in them but I pray.
Horace Campbell 54:20
Thank you very much, and the commission as a whole, and I’m sure all of us send very strong support to you and to your family, clearly grasping not only the execution of your son, but the torture that your family is going through. And thank you very much, Sarah. This concludes the hearing of the case of Casey Goodson. We will now have a break. hearings will resume on the hour with the case of Vincent Truitt. Thank you very much. Thank you