U.S. marshal calls his post-shooting remarks 'premature'

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Protesters hold signs spelling the name of Casey Goodson Jr., a Black man fatally shot Dec. 4 by a white Ohio sheriff's deputy, on Friday, Dec. 11, 2020, in Columbus, Ohio. Protests were planned Friday and Saturday over the death of Goodson. Columbus police and the U.S. Justice Department are investigating the shooting. (AP Photo/Andrew Welsh-Huggins)

COLUMBUS, Ohio – A U.S. marshal said Friday that his description of the fatal shooting of a Black man by a white sheriff's deputy as justified was premature and based on insufficient information.

U.S. Marshal Peter Tobin said he made statements based on “insufficient information” he received before the beginning of an official investigation into the Dec. 4 killing of Casey Goodson J r. by a Franklin County Sheriff's deputy.

“It was premature for me to provide any opinion, conclusion, or other information about the facts of the incident,” Tobin, U.S. marshal for the Southern District of Ohio, said in a late afternoon statement that came just minutes before hundreds gathered in downtown Columbus to protest Goodson's death.

Tobin for the first time also distanced the U.S. Marshals Service from Deputy Jason Meade, saying Meade's work on behalf of a Marshals fugitive task force had ended when the shooting happened.

“The officer 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.

Messages were left for Meade's attorney and for the Franklin County Sheriff's Office. Columbus police and the U.S. Justice Department are investigating the shooting.

Earlier Friday, Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther criticized Tobin, saying he was wrong to make that initial statement.

“His words were inappropriate, uninformed and damaged the public’s trust in the investigation,” Ginther said in a statement.