COLUMBUS, Ohio — Working people have organized a series of protests here since the police killed two unarmed African American men in December.
Casey Goodson Jr., 23, a laid-off truck driver who was working at the Gap, was gunned down on his family’s steps Dec. 4 as he returned from a dentist appointment. He was holding sandwiches he bought for his grandmother and younger brother.
He was shot by Franklin County sheriff’s deputy Jason Meade, who claims he saw Goodson wave a gun while he was driving. There is no evidence that Meade, who is on paid leave, has yet to be interrogated by the authorities. Goodson was licensed to carry a firearm, but family members who were in the house say he had no weapon on him.
“This is by far the hardest day of my life,” Goodson’s mother, Tamala Payne, said at his funeral service Dec. 23. “But I will stand strong in your name, and in your honor, and we will receive justice.”
The day before Goodson’s funeral, 47-year-old Andre Hill, a chef and construction worker, was shot and killed by Columbus cop Adam Coy. Hill was visiting a friend on the city’s east side when Coy and another cop, who were investigating a non-emergency call from a neighbor, saw Hill in the garage. Coy shot him dead within seconds as Hill walked out holding up his illuminated cellphone to show the cop. He had no weapon.
Footage from body cameras document the shooting, and show Hill lying still alive on the floor of the garage. The cops provide no medical assistance at all for more than 10 minutes, instead cuffing the dying Hill. A woman inside the house can be heard shouting to the police, “He was bringing me Christmas money. He didn’t do anything.”
Coy was fired from the police force Dec. 28, and is under criminal investigation. Since 2001, some 90 “citizen complaints” have been filed against him, and 16 of those were sustained.
“I think it’s a small step,” Sierra Mason told WSYX-TV at a protest against the killing of Hill the day Coy was fired. “My next hope is, you know, to at least have the charges of murder, homicide.”
“It is just disgusting how they did my dad,” Hill’s daughter, Karissa, said at a Dec. 31 press conference, where she was joined by other relatives and well-known attorney Ben Crump. “These pictures that I got to look at, I got to memorize my dad on the floor for the rest of my life and how nobody helped him.
“How there’s 22 officers on the scene with body footage and not one of them helped my dad. It’s unbearable,” she said.
Hill’s sister, Michelle Hairston, also spoke. “The way that my brother was treated, to me, it’s like an animal. He was preyed upon. He wasn’t given any kind of chances,” she said.
Call for justice
“I heard about the killings,” Mexican American construction worker Efrain Bustamante, shaking his head, told this Militant worker-correspondent Dec. 26 outside his trailer in Columbus. “They do it to us, too.”
“It was bad,” Trammel Price, an auto dealership worker, told me in the living room of his house down the street. “People are angry, and they’re going to keep pushing. But I’m worried nothing will happen to the police who did it. The prosecutors always find ways to let the cops get off, or they get little or no time in jail.”
More than 100 people, mostly from the Cranbrook neighborhood where Hill was killed, held a vigil there Christmas Eve. The event outside the house where Hill was shot was organized by Shawn Finley, a neighbor. “I had to do something because we can’t look away anymore,” she said.