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Michael Jason Meade, the 17-year veteran officer who killed Casey Goodson in Columbus, Ohio, is a Baptist pastor, one who apparently follows an Old Testament/god of wrath creed with respect to policing Black people. When Meade gunned down Casey on December 4, as Casey’s grandmother and little brother watched, he likely felt vindicated in his actions. As by his own words, sometimes police have to use “righteous release.”
Meade was featured in a 2018 video posted on the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office YouTube page called “Connecting with the Community,” where he references religious doctrine to justify the use of lethal force. Attempting to provide clarity to the “turn the other cheek” mantra that is often used in the Christian faith as a nonviolent response to conflict, Meade says that Jesus didn’t intend for anyone to literally allow for their faces to be slapped.
“There is release in our job that, righteously, we can actually have a use of force,” Meade says in the video. In his mind, an officer firing his weapon into a civilian’s back multiple times is the same as that officer not allowing a misinterpretation of the biblical text to prevent him from serving his community with “righteous intent.”
Meade has been a pastor at Rosedale Free Will Baptist Church, a small church of 80 congregants in Madison County, since 2014. While attending a church conference in 2018, Meade relished the “hunting” aspect of his police work to an audience of his peer pastors at Rosedale.
“I hunt people, it’s a great job. I love it,” Meade told his fellow pastors.
The god complex that gave Meade the affirmed self-righteousness to kill Casey Goodson with impunity is not only familiar to the ethos of American policing, it is also a foundational characteristic of white American violence enacted on Black bodies.
Chattel slavery was undergirded by the belief of divine order, as was much of white America’s subjugation of Black people.
If a man believes his “hunting” occupation is aligned with a holy edict to eradicate forces of evil, there are not enough mandates that can be imposed to reform him. If he equates Black citizenry with communal immorality, he will kill those “evil spirits” whenever his divine intuition instructs him to do so.
About the Author
Donney Rose is a poet, essayist, Kennedy Center Citizen Artist Fellow, advocate, and Chief Content Editor at The North Star. He believes in telling how it is and how it should be