Time and time again we’ve read and reported incidents in which unarmed Black men and women were shot down by police. But this time, a West Virginia officer lost his job for not shooting a man who held an unloaded gun because he reportedly put other officers in danger.
On May 6, Officer Stephen Mader responded to a domestic disturbance call in Weirton, West Virginia. When Mader arrived on the scene, he was confronted by Ronald Williams, a 23-year-old Black man, reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Williams’ girlfriend made the call to police.
Mader, who is White, served as a Marine in the military and said he used de-escalation skills learned in training to evaluate the “whole person” before reacting abruptly he said in an interview with the Post-Gazette:
“I saw then he had a gun, but it was not pointed at me,” Mader said, who observed Williams’ handgun was in his right hand hanging downward, pointed at the ground.
According to Mader, he used a calm voice and told Williams to lower his gun. Williams responded with, “Just shoot me.” “I’m not going to shoot you, brother,” Mader said back. Her recalled Williams flicked his wrist to get him to react.
“I thought I was going to be able to talk to him and deescalate it. I knew it was a suicide-by-cop situation,” Mader told the Post-Gazette.
But all of Mader’s training couldn’t prepare him for what happened next. Shortly after, two more officers arrived on the scene. Williams walked toward the officers, waving his gun, according to the Post-Gazette. One of the officers aimed and fired at Williams, striking him dead with a shot to the back of the head. The two responding officers were also White.
After the shooting, the Weirton Police Department engaged in a series of missteps. An investigator was brought in who promptly took a week-long vacation, and the department also refused to publicly release Williams’ name for three days.
Mader told the Post-Gazette that he took time off after the shooting, When he returned to meet with Police Chief Rob Alexander and City Manager Travis Blosser, they informed him he would be placed on administrative leave until they concluded an internal investigation into whether or not they would fire him. “You put two other officers in danger,” they told him.
“Right then I said to him: “Look, I didn’t shoot him because he said, ‘Just shoot me,’” Mader said to The Post-Gazette.
On June 7, Mader was handed a pink slip dated June 6, which read that he “failed to eliminate a threat.”
Out of frustration, Mader failed to attend a city hearing to approve the termination on June 29. He sought legal advice and was advised that because West Virginia is an “at will” state, his case would be hard to fight in court. Another told him to ask for a resignation instead of termination.
Mader told The Pittsburgh Gazette that his termination was unjustified and hired lawyer Jack Dolance on his behalf. Mader is currently studying for a commercial driving license to support his wife and two sons. He says he would jump at the chance to work in law enforcement again if an offer was on the table.
Williams’ case is still under internal investigation. Mader’s attorney and the West Virginia Civil Liberties Union have taken up a separate investigation.
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1. Jimmy Atchison, 211 of 56
2. Willie McCoy, 202 of 56
3. Emantic "EJ" Fitzgerald Bradford Jr., 213 of 56
4. D’ettrick Griffin, 184 of 56
5. Jemel Roberson, 26Source:false 5 of 56
6. DeAndre Ballard, 23Source:false 6 of 56
7. Botham Shem Jean, 26Source:false 7 of 56
8. Antwon Rose Jr., 17Source:false 8 of 56
9. Robert Lawrence White, 41Source:false 9 of 56
10. Anthony Lamar Smith, 24Source:Getty 10 of 56
11. Ramarley Graham, 18Source:Getty 11 of 56
12. Manuel Loggins Jr., 31Source:Getty 12 of 56
13. Trayvon Martin, 17Source:Getty 13 of 56
14. Wendell Allen, 20Source:Getty 14 of 56
15. Kendrec McDade, 19Source:Getty 15 of 56
16. Larry Jackson Jr., 32Source:Getty 16 of 56
17. Jonathan Ferrell, 24Source:Getty 17 of 56
18. Jordan Baker, 26Source:Getty 18 of 56
19. Victor White lll, 22Source:Getty 19 of 56
20. Dontre Hamilton, 31Source:Getty 20 of 56
21. Eric Garner, 43Source:Getty 21 of 56
22. John Crawford lll, 22Source:Getty 22 of 56
23. Michael Brown, 18Source:Getty 23 of 56
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25. Dante Parker, 36Source:Getty 25 of 56
26. Kajieme Powell, 25Source:Getty 26 of 56
27. Laquan McDonald, 17Source:Getty 27 of 56
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29. Tamir Rice, 12Source:Getty 29 of 56
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31. Jerame Reid, 36Source:Getty 31 of 56
32. Charly Keunang, 43Source:Getty 32 of 56
33. Tony Robinson, 19Source:Getty 33 of 56
34. Walter Scott, 50Source:Getty 34 of 56
35. Freddie Gray, 25Source:Getty 35 of 56
36. Brendon Glenn, 29Source:Getty 36 of 56
37. Samuel DuBose, 43Source:Getty 37 of 56
38. Christian Taylor, 19Source:Getty 38 of 56
39. Jamar Clark, 24Source:Getty 39 of 56
40. Mario Woods, 26Source:Getty 40 of 56
41. Quintonio LeGrier, 19Source:Getty 41 of 56
42. Gregory Gunn, 58Source:Getty 42 of 56
43. Akiel Denkins, 24Source:Getty 43 of 56
44. Alton Sterling, 37Source:Getty 44 of 56
45. Philando Castile, 32Source:Getty 45 of 56
46. Terrence Sterling, 31Source:Getty 46 of 56
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54. Patrick Harmon, 5054 of 56
55. Jonathan Hart, 2155 of 56
56. Maurice Granton, 2456 of 56
Weirton, West Virginia cop fired for refusing to shoot Black man holding unloaded gun was originally published on newsone.com