Jason Meade: Ohio ex-cop who killed Casey Goodson Jr, 23, once justified use of force
A Franklin County grand jury on December 2 chose to indict former SWAT deputy Jason Meade over the shooting of Casey Goodson Jr. The 23-year-old was shot in December 2020 outside his home, sparking furor and controversy for its brutal nature. Meade turned himself in on the charges on December 2 and will make his initial appearance in Franklin County Common Pleas Court on December 3.
With the indictment, Meade becomes just one of the handful of police officers to face consequences for use of force. In April, Derek Chauvin was found guilty of killing George Floyd, a historic verdict that will see him spend over two decades behind bars. Former Brooklyn Centre PD officer Kim Potter is currently on trial after she shot Duante Wright days before Chauvin's verdict.
Meade too could face a similar fate as Chauvin, with the circumstances around the shooting now becoming a lot clearer. Initially, Meade claimed Goodson was "waving a gun", but his family disputed that version and said he was carrying a Subway sandwich. Interestingly, this isn't the first time Meade has been involved in a shooting incident. He's got a bit of a record for use of force, something he has even justified in the past.
Who is Jason Meade?
Michael Jason Meade has been with the Franklin County Sheriff's Office for 17 years, and at the time of the shooting was a deputy on the SWAT team. The day he shot Goodson, Meade was part of a US Marshals Service Fugitive Task Force, hunting the area for a wanted person, a role he has been in since 2013. Reportedly, he's also a Baptist pastor at Rosedale Free Will Baptist Church in the unincorporated community of Irwin in Madison County. He's been in that role since 2014, according to a USA Today profile.
Before police work, Meade was a Marine with the storied Lima Company and served in Iraq in 2005. "While we were in the country, it was recognized there was a shortfall of police officers training in Iraq. And Jason volunteered to go and help them train Iraqi police officers," Columbus Police Officer Shawn Delgado who served with Meade in Iraq told ABC6. Little else is known about Meade's military service.
When it comes to his police work though, it appears he was exceptionally good. NBC4i reported he was "either met or was above expectations in a number of areas on several recent performance reviews." But, he also has a long history of running into trouble.
'People I hit, you wish you could hit'
Despite turning to religion, it appears Meade still has a taste for violence. In a 2018 video for the Franklin County Sheriff's Office, he said, "Every now and then you have to actually use force." He added, "We don’t go around looking for it because we don’t have to. Plenty of people out there will give you that opportunity." He went on to defend the use of force, saying, "There is release in our job that, righteously, we can actually have a use of force."
In another 2018 conference, he said, "I hunt people. It’s a great job, I love it," to laughs from the crowd. In one sermon, Meade also said, "I learned long ago why I'm justified in throwing the first punch. Don't look up here like 'police brutality.' People I hit, you wish you could hit, trust me," and compared it to David hitting Goliath. His record also shows that he often turned those words into actions, often with deadly consequences.
In June 2018, Meade was one of the several officers who fired their weapons during a standoff in Pike County, that ended with two men dead. That led to Meade being put on administrative leave, but it was not clear when he returned to service. Then in March 2019, he was reprimanded for using his taser on a suspect, but not reporting the incident up the chain. Then in December 2020, he fatally shot Goodson three times in the back.
Following that shooting, he left the office on July 2, 2021, on disability retirement. His attorney said he will plead not guilty on December 3, and hopes for a "reasonable bond." Hours after the indictment, Goodson's family also filed a federal lawsuit against Meade and Franklin County.