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Cop fired for not shooting suicidal gun-wielding man

By Mason White 11:51 AM May 11, 2017
Stephen Mader
Stephen Mader
By: Alexis Bell

(Scroll down for video) A police officer in West Virginia, filed a lawsuit after he was fired for not shooting an armed black man.

The incident began when a woman called 911 to report that a man was threatening to commit suicide after a domestic dispute incident.

Officer Stephen Mader was the first to respond. When he arrived, he found that Ronald Williams was upset.

Mader ordered Williams to show him his hands. When he complied, Mader saw that he was holding a silver pistol.

The officer pulled out his own gun and ordered Williams to drop the gun, but Williams refused. Instead, the distraught man repeatedly asked the officer to shoot him.

Mader, who served as a U.S. Marine in Afghanistan, felt that Williams was neither dangerous nor aggressive. Instead, he determined that Williams was trying to commit “suicide by cop.”

Mader said that he was sure that Williams was not here to hurt anyone but himself.

Mader continued to ask Williams to lower his weapon, but Williams refused. He kept asking the officer to shoot him.

Soon, two other Weirton police officers arrived. Williams raised his weapon, and one of those officers immediately shot him in the head. Williams was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police soon realized that the gun was not loaded.

After the incident, Mader was placed on administrative leave, and a few weeks later, the Weirton Police Department fired him.

The reason given to him according to the lawsuit was for “failure to meet probationary standards of an officer” and “apparent difficulties in critical incident reasoning.”

“The Weirton Police Department terminated Mr. Mader’s employment because he chose not to use deadly force to shoot and kill and African-American man, who was suicidal, and whom Mr. Mader reasonably believed did not pose a risk of death or serious bodily injury,” Mader’s lawyers, Timothy O’Brien, wrote in the lawsuit.

The city of Weirton defended its decision to terminate Mader. They claim that he was not fired over the way he handled the Williams incident.

Instead, they said that he was fired because of two prior incidents. One occurred when a woman filed a complaint, saying that Mader swore at her as he arrested her husband on a disorderly conduct charge.

In another incident, he reported the death of an elderly woman, but he failed to report the death as “suspicious.”

However, the two officers who investigated the elderly woman’s death, including the one who shot Williams, also failed to report the death as “suspicious” and they were not fired.