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.
58 Black Men And Boys Killed By Police
1. Ryan Twyman, 241 of 58
2. Brandon Webber, 202 of 58
3. Jimmy Atchison, 213 of 58
4. Willie McCoy, 204 of 58
5. Emantic "EJ" Fitzgerald Bradford Jr., 215 of 58
6. D’ettrick Griffin, 186 of 58
7. Jemel Roberson, 26Source:false 7 of 58
8. DeAndre Ballard, 23Source:false 8 of 58
9. Botham Shem Jean, 26Source:false 9 of 58
10. Antwon Rose Jr., 17Source:false 10 of 58
11. Robert Lawrence White, 41Source:false 11 of 58
12. Anthony Lamar Smith, 24Source:Getty 12 of 58
13. Ramarley Graham, 18Source:Getty 13 of 58
14. Manuel Loggins Jr., 31Source:Getty 14 of 58
15. Trayvon Martin, 17Source:Getty 15 of 58
16. Wendell Allen, 20Source:Getty 16 of 58
17. Kendrec McDade, 19Source:Getty 17 of 58
18. Larry Jackson Jr., 32Source:Getty 18 of 58
19. Jonathan Ferrell, 24Source:Getty 19 of 58
20. Jordan Baker, 26Source:Getty 20 of 58
21. Victor White lll, 22Source:Getty 21 of 58
22. Dontre Hamilton, 31Source:Getty 22 of 58
23. Eric Garner, 43Source:Getty 23 of 58
24. John Crawford lll, 22Source:Getty 24 of 58
25. Michael Brown, 18Source:Getty 25 of 58
26. Ezell Ford, 25Source:Getty 26 of 58
27. Dante Parker, 36Source:Getty 27 of 58
28. Kajieme Powell, 25Source:Getty 28 of 58
29. Laquan McDonald, 17Source:Getty 29 of 58
30. Akai Gurley, 28Source:Getty 30 of 58
31. Tamir Rice, 12Source:Getty 31 of 58
32. Rumain Brisbon, 34Source:Getty 32 of 58
33. Jerame Reid, 36Source:Getty 33 of 58
34. Charly Keunang, 43Source:Getty 34 of 58
35. Tony Robinson, 19Source:Getty 35 of 58
36. Walter Scott, 50Source:Getty 36 of 58
37. Freddie Gray, 25Source:Getty 37 of 58
38. Brendon Glenn, 29Source:Getty 38 of 58
39. Samuel DuBose, 43Source:Getty 39 of 58
40. Christian Taylor, 19Source:Getty 40 of 58
41. Jamar Clark, 24Source:Getty 41 of 58
42. Mario Woods, 26Source:Getty 42 of 58
43. Quintonio LeGrier, 19Source:Getty 43 of 58
44. Gregory Gunn, 58Source:Getty 44 of 58
45. Akiel Denkins, 24Source:Getty 45 of 58
46. Alton Sterling, 37Source:Getty 46 of 58
47. Philando Castile, 32Source:Getty 47 of 58
48. Terrence Sterling, 31Source:Getty 48 of 58
49. Terence Crutcher, 40Source:Getty 49 of 58
50. Keith Lamont Scott, 43Source:Getty 50 of 58
51. Alfred Olango, 38Source:Getty 51 of 58
52. Jordan Edwards, 15Source:Getty 52 of 58
53. Stephon Clark, 22Source:false 53 of 58
54. Danny Ray Thomas, 34Source:false 54 of 58
55. DeJuan Guillory, 27Source:false 55 of 58
56. Patrick Harmon, 5056 of 58
57. Jonathan Hart, 2157 of 58
58. Maurice Granton, 2458 of 58
West Virginia Cop Fired For Refusing To Shoot Black Man Holding Unloaded Gun was originally published on newsone.com