Columbus Pilot Project Hosts Community Conversation

On Sunday December 13, 2020 the Greater Columbus Community Trust hosted “Understanding Criminal Investigations and Processing Community Grief”, a program designed to support the Columbus community following the shooting of Casey Goodson, Jr.  The complete program is available here on youtube.

The complete two-hour program is full of highlights on criminal investigations, trauma resources, and an intimate personal account from Adrienne Hood (Henry Green’s mother).  U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio Dave DeVillers made remarks to explain the current state of the investigation at about the one-hour 52-minute mark.

For a case study of the Greater Columbus Community Trust, look here.

Concurrent to the youtube program, the Greater Columbus Community Trust issued the following statement:

We write because the killing of a young Black man by a law enforcement official last Friday should result in an immediate, independent, full, fair and transparent investigation. The investigation should be led by people who quickly make clear they want nothing more than to reveal the truth—and if the truth is that the killing was not justified, justice for the criminal act.

We, as individuals, organizations, and stakeholders in greater Columbus, have watched with shock the events unfolding around the shooting of Casey Goodson, Jr. If 2020, and the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others, has taught us anything, it is that Black and Brown people are too often victims of police violence in the U.S. A man is dead and a family in our community is in pain. We believe that, to restore confidence, local, state and federal authorities should cooperate and coordinate their investigations to ensure unquestioned confidence that the investigation will be complete, transparent, and independent of the law enforcement agency involved in the shooting. The silence of some voices, and conflict of other voices, deepens our concern that many in our community do not understand what has occurred since Friday and, therefore, will question: Will there be accountability? Will there be justice? What can we do to support the process to investigate and deliver justice for our neighbor?

Our communities—and our community leaders—cannot remain silent. We know protests are planned for this weekend; to express righteous outrage and demand justice for Casey Goodson, Jr. Peaceful protest is “good trouble” as John Lewis would say, and is protected in our country. We hope protesters and the law enforcement response does not result in further injury or loss of life. But, this community needs more than protest—we must assure the entire community that justice will be done.

We, under the name “Greater Columbus Community Trust,” believe the most troubling issues in our community will require each of us—and our neighbors—to listen to each other, to work together to develop relationships, to act resourcefully, to ensure all community stakeholders deal justly with each other’s concerns, and to respond to events that challenge trust in ways that bring us together—not in ways that tear us apart. We invite Columbus residents to make their voices heard peacefully and constructively by joining us for a virtual community conversation [now available here on youtube].

The lesson from protests across the country in 2020 are many. Here are a few:

 – We believe justice demands that a full, independent, thorough and trustworthy investigation of Casey Goodson, Jr.’s death must occur because all parties—Casey Goodson, Jr.’s family, the law enforcement officer, and the Columbus community—deserve and have a right to justice.
 – We believe that, to maintain confidence, the city, state government and local federal leaders should put in place clear procedures for the independent investigation of any future police-involved shooting/violence resulting in a death.

We, under the name “Greater Columbus Community Trust,” aim to make the Columbus metropolitan region more resilient by advancing efforts to:
• Convene community stakeholders to understand deep community concerns;
• Build trust among residents and between leaders and residents;
• Identify/design processes to deal justly with constituency group concerns;
• Prepare the community to respond in resourceful and coordinated ways if an event occurs that challenges trust, and
• Develop shared plans for acting in the midst of community unrest.

For these reasons . . . GCCT, as stakeholders in this community, will convene interested parties for these purposes. We invite all interested and concerned residents to join us in making their voices heard, peacefully and constructively. [Information about the event is now available here on youtube].