The Springfield Black Lives Matter protest on Saturday June 6, 2020 included chants for Jalen Goodwin. Signs were held up calling him “our George Floyd.” State Senator Brian Williams said he would see to it that “justice was done” for Goodwin. The crowd was led in chants of “Say his name! Jalen Goodwin!”
So what happened to Jalen Goodwin?
OI obtained the records related to Goodwin’s arrest including the autopsy report. We were also able to view the security video from the Greene County Jail from the moment Goodwin arrives until he is taken away by EMTs.
What follows are the details of the incident from official records related to the death of Jalen Goodwin on January 6, 2016. Everything below comes directly from the police report, the Greene County Jail security video, or the autopsy report.
THE INITIAL INCIDENT
The Commercial Sales Manager at Reliable Chevrolet called the Springfield Police Department regarding a disturbance at the business on South Campbell. The manager, Brett Singley, told responding officer James Dougherty that they had problems with Jalen Goodwin.
Singley said Goodwin came to the business wanting to speak with a female employee. The employee stated they did not want to speak with Goodwin, so Singley asked Goodwin to leave the business.
Goodwin returned and began cursing at Singley. At this point, the owner told Singley that Goodwin was banned from the property and to be told not to come back. Singley then told Goodwin about the owner’s words, and that if Goodwin did not leave the lot the business would press charges against him for trespassing. Goodwin then asked if he could buy a car, and Singley said they did not want his business.
Goodwin then spit on Singley, striking him in the arm.
Singley repeated the demand for Goodwin to leave the property. Goodwin left but then came back, sitting inside of a black Chevrolet Impala, and yelled threats at the staff. Goodwin made threats to come back and fight Singley and other employees of the business.
Singley told police he wanted to press charges against Goodwin for assault (for being spit on) and trespassing (because he refused to leave the business and then returned.)
Police found Goodwin sitting inside the Impala in the parking lot of the Steak-N-Shake, with the vehicle pointed north toward Reliable Chevrolet. When an officer approached the driver’s side window, Goodwin rolled down the window and the officer could detect the smell of marijuana from the car.
Goodwin was asked for identification and he responded that he didn’t have any ID. When asked what he was doing sitting in the Steak-N-Shake lot, Goodwin said he was waiting for his girlfriend to end her shift at Reliable. The officer then noticed marijuana in the armrest, center console of the vehicle.
This is when Goodwin was asked to step out of the vehicle by the officer, who placed him under arrest for trespassing, common assault, and possession of marijuana, and placed Goodwin in handcuffs.
A search found $615 in Goodwin’s pants pocket, whereupon he was asked where he worked; Goodwin told the officer he was a student and did not have a job, but did not mention the name of the school. When Goodwin was asked where he obtained the money, Goodwin did not answer.
Goodwin then told the officer, without being asked anything about the incident at Reliable Chevrolet, “I never spit on that guy.”
The officers collected marijuana from Goodwin’s vehicle and confiscated the money. Goodwin asked why the money was being taken, and the officer responded he believed it was profit from drug activity. Goodwin then told officers “I only use, I don’t sell.”
Officer Dougherty then transported Goodwin to the Greene County Jail. During transport, Goodwin kept moving his arms, eventually moving his handcuffs behind his knees. Goodwin then complained that the handcuffs were hurting his wrist, and was told by the officer to put his hands back to where they were before he moved them behind his knees. Goodwin said he was unable to do that.
When the officer and Goodwin arrived at the jail, the officer helped Goodwin put his hands back into the original position before entering the jail.
INSIDE THE GREENE COUNTY JAIL
Goodwin is shown in the video walking into the Greene County Jail. He is not showing any visible signs of injury, and walks unhindered into the receiving area. He is instructed to sit on a bench, where he does for several minutes, before being called to a table for initial processing.
The handcuffs were removed, Goodwin can be seen showing his wrists to the officer. The police report states Goodwin was showing red marks consistent with moving wrists around while handcuffed.
When Goodwin was told by the officer he shouldn’t have been moving around in his cuffs, Goodwin shrugged and did not talk any further about the cuffs.
Goodwin’s booking process proceeded without incident. Goodwin is shown on video cooperating with officers and deputies. He makes no indication of illness or injury.
Goodwin is shown having an iris scan and booking photo. He is questioned twice by a deputy processing his intake. Goodwin is seen talking with other men awaiting their intake to the Greene County Jail in a holding area.
The first indication of something being wrong with Goodwin takes place around the 5:38:30 p.m. mark of the video, when you can see him lose his balance and then quickly regaining it. The deputy who was processing Goodwin for fingerprints was looking away at that moment, and did not notice Goodwin’s stumble.
The deputy begins to work again with Goodwin, who is responsive and made no reference to his wobble.
Then around the 5:40 p.m. mark, the deputy notices something is wrong with Goodwin, and helps him sit down in the chair next to the fingerprinting machine. The deputy begins to question Goodwin about whether he had ingested anything other than marijuana.
This is the timeline of what followed that moment until Goodwin leaves the Greene County Jail:
- 5:41:00: Deputy says to Goodwin that he needs to know if he took anything “for medical reasons.” After a pause, the deputy responds that he won’t charge Goodwin, but needs to know if he swallowed something for medical reasons.
- 5:41:22: Goodwin responds that he swallowed cocaine. The officer then says “coke?” At that point, the officer calls for the jail’s medical team. (It is Greene County Jail procedure that if an inmate says they swallowed something upon intake, the medical team is called.)
- 5:41:48: Medical team personnel arrive at Goodwin’s location.
- 5:41:52: Goodwin begins to have a full body seizure. He is lowered to the floor by deputies, and the medical team begins immediate treatment. Goodwin is turned onto his side, to keep him from choking on vomit.
- 5:43:50: A deputy is clearly heard on the video calling for someone to call an ambulance. Medical personnel continue to work on Goodwin.
- 5:44:45: A deputy tells the deputy who is in contact with the ambulance to “run code”, meaning use lights and sirens.
- 5:45-5:52: The medical team is shown performing life saving measures on Goodwin. One female staffer can be heard multiple times talking to him, saying his name, and telling him to “stay with us.”
- 5:52: EMS arrives on the scene and rushes to Goodwin.
- 5:53: Goodwin is placed on a stretcher and begins again to seize, so straps are used to keep him on the stretcher.
- 5:54: EMT rush Goodwin out to the ambulance
Goodwin was transported to Cox South Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 6:25 p.m..
THE AUTOPSY REPORT
The autopsy report for Jalen Goodwin is dated August 12, 2016 by Dr. Jeff Harkey.
The general observations portion of the autopsy report says that Goodwin had a urine drug screen performed at the hospital showing cocaine, benzodiazepines, and cannabinoids.
In the portion of the report labeled “Evidence of Injury”, the report notes a “transverse superficial abrasions” on the right wrist, which the medical examiner wrote was consistent “with the report that Mr. Goodwin had appeared to have been attempting to slip his handcuffs while being transported by the Springfield police to the Sheriff’s office.”
An abrasion of the lower lip was attributed to the intubation tube being inserted during life-saving measures.
The autopsy makes no note of any other injuries.
The internal examination of the report notes “within the stomach was a wad of clear plastic material similar to a baggy. There were several grams of red-brown fluid on the outer surface of the baggy; when this was washed away it revealed that the baggy was a tube of plastic open at both ends and having no visible contents.”
Dr. Harkey lists in his summary of findings toxicology reports showing a high level of cocaine in the blood along with Alprazolam and the compounds found in Marijuana. He also lists the plastic tube in the stomach contents, a mild cerebral edema, a mild pulmonary edema, and an “anatomical variant” of the aortic arch.