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Ohio deputy who fatally shot Casey Goodson once said his job was to 'hunt people': 'I love it'

Jason Meade, the Ohio deputy who has attracted national attention in recent weeks after he fatally shot 23-year-old Casey Goodson in Columbus earlier this month, is facing more scrutiny after audio of past comments he made about his job during a sermon in 2018 resurfaced online. 

In audio obtained by The Washington Post of comments he made at an event held by the Ohio State Association of Free Will Baptists two years ago, Meade, who is also a Baptist pastor, could be heard discussing the work he did as a Franklin County Sheriff's deputy, including hunting people.

“I work for the sheriff’s office. . . . I hunt people — it’s a great job, I love it,” he says in the audio, according to the Post. “I worked this job 14 years, you know I ain’t never been hit clean in the face one time? It’s a fact. It ain’t ’cause I’m so good. . . . You know why?”

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“I learned long ago I gotta throw the first punch. And I learned long ago why I’m justified in throwing the first punch. Don’t look up here like, ‘Oh, police brutality.’ People I hit you wish you could hit, trust me,” he continued.

Comments Meade made in a 2018 interview in which he refers to using force while on the job as “times for righteous release” have also garnered attention online.

The moment came in an interview shared by the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office on YouTube, shortly after he was pressed about how he balances being a religious leader and working in law enforcement.

Meade said the Bible “doesn't contradict law enforcement” or “our involvement in the community,” adding instead that “it complements it.”

“Everything that I do on a daily basis is complemented by the word of God in my service to people. The greatest servant that will ever know of, ever in the history of this world, is Jesus Christ, God's only son,” he said. “He was the servant of all servants. What are we? We serve the public.”

“There are times for righteous release. That's what I call when we have a use of force, because every now and then you have to actually use force,” he said. “We don't go around looking for it because we don't have to -- plenty people out there would give you that opportunity.”

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“So, we don't have to be bullies going looking for it, that's why I say it's a righteous release. There is a release in our job that, righteously, we can actually have a use of force,” he added. 

The remarks have generated backlash in the wake of Goodson’s shooting.

Michael Young, a pastor at the City of Grace in Columbus, told the Post that Meade is “using the platform of the pulpit to teach and preach things that are contrary to scripture.”

According to USA Today, Meade has served as a pastor at Rosedale Free Will Baptist Church Madison County for the past six years and had served with the Marine Reserves in Iraq in 2005.

The Columbus Division of Police said earlier this month that Meade is a 17-year veteran of the Franklin County Sheriff's Office who was working on the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force.

Local officials said Goodson, a Black man, was fatally shot by Meade on Dec. 4 while the deputy was involved in a search for violent offenders for the task force. Goodson not a target of the search. 

During an operation, the Columbus Division of Police said at the time that the deputy “reported witnessing a man with a gun.”

“The deputy was investigating the situation, and there are reports of a verbal exchange. The deputy fired at Mr. Casey Goodson, resulting in his death. A gun was recovered from Mr. Goodson,” the agency said, while also adding that Goodson “was not the person being sought by the U.S. Marshal’s Task Force.”  

Lawyers for Goodson’s family said he was shot while attempting to enter his home after returning from a dentist appointment with food for his family.

According to the Post, Meade’s legal team said the deputy, who has since been placed on paid leave, shot Goodson after the man waved a firearm at officials.

But law firm Walton + Brown, which is representing Goodson’s family, said in a statement earlier this month that the “narrative leaves out key details that raise cause for extreme concern.”

Goodson, the firm said, had been “shot and killed as he unlocked his door and entered his home.” The firm said his death “was witnessed by his 72-year-old grandmother and two toddlers who were near the door.”  

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Goodson’s death prompted a large protest in Columbus demanding justice for his death earlier this month.

Federal authorities have said they will be reviewing the shooting case along with local authorities.

David DeVillers, U.S. Attorney for Southern District of Ohio, said officials will “take appropriate action if the evidence indicates any federal civil rights laws were violated.”