'What Is a Black Life Worth?': Lawyer Angry Over $250K Bond for Cop Charged in Killing

"What is a Black life worth in this justice system in America?" said attorney Sean Walton, who was angry over the $250,000 bond set for Jason Meade, a cop who shot Casey Goodson Jr. in the back five times.

Walton, who represents Goodson's family, spoke at Friday's hearing for Meade, an Ohio sheriff's deputy. Meade is facing charges of murder and reckless homicide, one of which typically has a $1 million bond, Walton said.

"We saw and heard the prosecutors in the room today say that there's nothing that Casey did whatsoever that led to his death," Walton said.

At the hearing, Meade pleaded not guilty to the charges and requested that his case be moved to federal court, the Associated Press said.

Meade's attorneys, Steve Nolder and Mark Collins argued that at the time of the shooting, Meade was acting as a federal agent of the U.S. Marshals Service fugitive task force.

"Meade's primary responsibilities were to assist other team members in arresting violent fugitives and other felons," Nolder said in a court filing Friday. "As such, on December 4, 2020, Deputy Meade was acting as a federal officer when he shot Casey Goodson Jr."

The filing said Meade was assigned to the Marshals' fugitive task force Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., although his regular assignment was on the Franklin County Sheriff's Office SWAT team.

The shooting occurred on December 4, 2020, when Meade failed to find a fugitive while working with the U.S. Marshals Service task force. According to an account given by Collins, Meade followed Goodson in his car, then by foot when he saw Goodson point a gun at another driver and then at Meade while in his car. After, Goodson was "waving the firearm erratically," Collins said. Meade fired when the gun was pointed at him, Collins said.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below:

Jason Meade, Murder, Casey Goodson Jr., Trial
Defense attorney Mark Collins, right, speaks to the judge as defense attorney Steve Nodler, center, listens during the arraignment of former Franklin County, Ohio, deputy Jason Meade, appearing on video screen in Columbus, Ohio on December 3. Meade, who fatally shot Casey Goodson Jr. in the back five times has pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and reckless homicide. Paul Vernon/AP Photo

The filing by Meade's attorneys runs counter to what U.S. Marshal Pete Tobin said a week after the shooting.

Meade "was acting on his own and in his independent authority as a Franklin County Sheriff's Deputy within his home jurisdiction when he encountered Mr. Goodson, and throughout the subsequent incident leading to Mr. Goodson's death," Tobin said in a December 11, 2020 statement

A message seeking comment was left with the Franklin County special prosecutors trying the case in state court.

The shooting of the 23-year-old Goodson, who was Black, by Meade, a longtime deputy—now retired—who is white, led to protests in Columbus and many lingering questions, in part because the killing was not recorded on body or dash camera footage.

Goodson's family has never denied that Goodson might have been carrying a gun but has noted he also had a license to carry a firearm.

Prosecutors said a gun was found in the kitchen after the shooting. Collins said Friday the gun was under Goodson's body, and Meade moved it as he tried to revive Goodson.

Collins had argued for a reasonable bond, saying Meade has strong ties to the community with no motive for leaving town, has been cooperative over the past year, is a church minister, does not own a passport, and has no weapons at home after they were removed following his indictment.

"This is not a whodunnit," Collins said. "This is whether or not our client used reasonable force based on the totality of the situation, the circumstances surrounding it, his training in the protocols, and whether or not he subjectively believed his life was in danger."

Prosecutors laid out a scenario in which Goodson, returning from a dental appointment with a bag of sandwiches for family members, was shot as he entered his grandmother's house with his keys already in the door. He was shot five times in the back and once in the buttocks, said Franklin County special prosecutor Tim Merkle.

"Investigators found no evidence other than Mr. Meade's self-serving, uncorroborated statement to show that Casey presented a threat to Mr. Meade," Merkle said Friday. "Rather, the evidence collected revealed that Casey was doing nothing other than entering his residence when Mr. Meade shot him six times."

Goodson's family has also filed a federal wrongful-death lawsuit against Meade and the sheriff's office. The complaint claimed Meade received hundreds of hours of firearms and SWAT training but little on violence de-escalation techniques. That is despite subpar performances as a deputy, including being placed on "no inmate contact status" for nearly four years. The lawsuit did not provide details of the reasons for that placement. A Franklin County spokesperson has declined comment.

Although the shooting did not involve Columbus police, it came at a time of heightened tension over previous shootings of Black people by officers in Ohio's capital. Then, less than three weeks later, a white Columbus police officer shot and killed 47-year-old Andre Hill as he emerged from a garage holding a cellphone.

Meade, who had been on administrative leave since the shooting, retired July 2 on disability.

Casey Goodson Jr., Murder, Jason Meade, Trial
Casey Goodson Jr., a 23 year old Black man was shot and killed, as he was about to enter his home in Columbus, Ohio on December 4, 2020. Tamala Payne, center, the mother of Casey Goodson Jr., stands in front of the Ohio Statehouse with her family and their attorney, Sean Walton, left, during a midday protest for Casey Goodson Jr. in Columbus, Ohio on December 12, 2020. Stephen Zenner/AFP via Getty Images