COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Two special prosecutors were appointed Tuesday in the case of the Ohio deputy who fatally shot Casey Goodson Jr. in the back five times.
Franklin County Prosecutor Gary Tyack named Tim Merkle and Gary Shroyer to assist with investigating and prosecuting the fatal shooting of Goodson, a Black man, by Franklin County Sheriff’s deputy Jason Meade, who is white, in an encounter that is still largely unexplained and involved no body camera or dashcam footage.
The appointment of Merkle and Shroyer to the case was made as “the appropriate course of action given” the county prosecutor’s office serves as legal counsel to the sheriff’s office and anticipates having to defend the county and the law enforcement agency in this case, Tyack said in a release.
The two men have experience as trial attorneys and previously served as senior prosecutors for former Franklin County Prosecutor Michael Miller, according to the release.
The appointment also comes just days after Sheriff Dallas Baldwin announced that Meade will retire July 2 on disability. The deputy had been on administrative leave from the sheriff’s office since the shooting.
Baldwin had previously said the final autopsy, released in March, which showed that Goodson was shot in the back five times, did not “provide all of the facts needed,” and that he will wait until the criminal investigation is complete before pursuing any disciplinary action against Meade.
The fatal shooting in question took place in Columbus on Dec. 4 while Meade, a 17-year veteran of the sheriff’s office, was finishing up an unsuccessful search for a fugitive as part of his work for a U.S. Marshals Office fugitive task force.
Goodson was not the subject of the fugitive search. While U.S. Marshal Peter Tobin initially said Meade confronted Goodson after Goodson drove by and waved a gun at the deputy, he later withdrew those comments, saying they’d been based on “insufficient information.”
Tobin also said Meade was “not performing a mission” for the marshals at the time of the shooting.
Relatives say Goodson was opening the door to his grandmother’s house at the time he was shot. Officials said that a gun was recovered from the scene but have not provided further details.
The case remains under criminal investigation by the U.S. attorney’s office with help from the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. Meade has not been charged.
While Goodson’s family is disappointed that Baldwin didn’t fire Meade, the family’s attorney said Friday that his resignation provides “a small sense of relief.”
Meade’s “sudden retirement shows that he understands that he is soon to be held accountable for his actions, and for Casey’s family and for this entire community that day cannot come soon enough,” attorney Sean Walton said.
Farnoush Amiri is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.