Officer Fired After He Refused To Shoot A Distraught Man Wins $175,000 Settlement From Weirton Police Department

BY Herschel Smith
7 months ago

CNN:

A West Virginia city has agreed to pay a former police officer $175,000 to settle a wrongful-termination lawsuit after he was fired following his decision not to shoot a distraught suspect who was holding a gun.

The lawsuit accused the Weirton Police Department of wrongfully terminating officer Stephen Mader after he chose not to shoot a 23-year-old man while responding to a domestic disturbance in 2016.

“At the end of the day, I’m happy to put this chapter of my life to bed,” Mader said in a news release by the American Civil Liberties Union of West Virginia.

“The events leading to my termination were unjustified and I’m pleased a joint resolution has been met. My hope is that no other person on either end of a police call has to go through this again.”

The incident occurred May 6, 2016, when Mader responded to a domestic-disturbance call and found Ronald “R.J.” Williams Jr. with an unloaded handgun.

Mader told CNN last year that Williams was “visibly choked up” and told Mader to shoot him. As a Marine veteran who served in Afghanistan, Mader told CNN that he concluded Williams wasn’t a threat and so he tried to de-escalate the situation.

As Mader was trying to get Williams to drop his gun, two other Weirton police officers arrived. Mader told CNN that Williams raised his gun and was immediately shot and killed by one of the other officers. A state investigation found the officer’s actions were justified.

On June 7, 2016, the Weirton Police Department fired Mader. The lawsuit, filed in May 2017, claims the department fired him because of “failure to meet probationary standards of an officer” and “apparent difficulties in critical incident reasoning.”

“Failure to meet probationary standards.”  Or in other words, he wasn’t pathological enough for law enforcement work in America.  You see, Marine, there is nothing more important than the costumed clowns going home safely at the end of their shift.  The ability to discern your surroundings and circumstances and make wise judgments isn’t valued in American LEO work.

Unfortunately, the citizens will pay for this settlement.  He should never have been fired.  Instead, the police officer who fired him should have been stripped naked, marched out the public square and publicly flogged.  Then the young Marine should have been put in charge of the department.

But that’s not the America we live in today, now is it?


Comments

  1. On February 14, 2018 at 8:04 am, Ned said:

    So now we know: If an officer isn’t willing to murder a citizen, he will be run out of the force.

  2. On February 14, 2018 at 9:44 am, Longbow said:

    So, the Vast Majority fired him (kicked him outta the Gang) for failure to murder a man when presented with the opportunity.

    Hmmmm… makes sense.

  3. On February 14, 2018 at 3:33 pm, moe mensale said:

    “As Mader was trying to get Williams to drop his gun, two other Weirton police officers arrived. Mader told CNN that Williams raised his gun and was immediately shot and killed by one of the other officers.”

    Cop or non-cop, no one should be faulted for shooting someone who intentionally points a gun at you.

    That said, this isn’t Fallujah or Helmand Province or any of the dozens of other places where the US military shouldn’t be. But if the police continue to pretend it is, then they should expect reciprocity from us. Conflating police work and military actions will not end well for anybody. Don’t police depts. teach discernment and de-escalation anymore?

  4. On February 14, 2018 at 3:37 pm, Herschel Smith said:

    @moe,

    I understand, but the former Marine cop was the one faulted for NOT shooting someone with whom de-escalation was working just fine without the other two Neanderthals showing up.

  5. On February 14, 2018 at 10:56 pm, Frank said:

    Predictable, the rules of engagement in combat zones are much more stringent than those of a cop on the streets of a US city. And no, I do not believe de-escalation is included along with all the pseudo-military training most departments are paying for.

    One course is helicopter sniper, where the mechanics are taught for firing from a moving helicopter so they can shoot anything that pops up, no need to identify targets first. No military trains that way.

  6. On February 15, 2018 at 7:03 am, Fergus said:

    So if the officer was wrong and the man had shot someone what would that have said about his judgement. Looking at the number of dead officers who didn’t fire and are now dead I guess we must bow to your superior moral authority and police experience in this matter.

    The SPLC would be proud of you all.

  7. On February 15, 2018 at 5:37 pm, moe mensale said:

    @Herschel,

    Totally agree. The first cop was apparently successfully de-escalating when the two heroes showed up with a shoot-first use of force continuum strategy. My point was that too many cops have this shoot-first mentality. Maybe that’s permissible in a war zone but we don’t pay our cops to react that way here at home.

    The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last year that cops can shoot you dead for no other reason than you answered their pounding on your door with a gun in hand. Not that you were aiming it at them, just that you were in possession of it.

  8. On February 15, 2018 at 8:29 pm, Ned said:

    From what I’ve seen, they’ll shoot you if you answer the door. Or not.

  9. On February 16, 2018 at 1:59 pm, Jack Crabb said:

    Fergus, fuck off.

  10. On February 16, 2018 at 3:19 pm, moe mensale said:

    @Fergus,

    I don’t know who you’re responding to but here’s some numbers for police (fed, state & local) deaths by gunfire:

    2014-48, 2015-41, 2016-64, 2017-46. Out of an estimated 800,000 active duty cops. In other words, it’s statistically insignificant. So much for being a dangerous profession.

    No “superior moral authority” here nor any actual police experience. But if I’m going to piss on someone at least try to quantifiably support your position instead of blowing smoke and emotions.

  11. On February 17, 2018 at 5:25 am, Dan said:

    There are no good cops. There are the bad cops who lie, steal, assault, plant evidence, commit assault and murder. And their are the bad cops who see all of this criminality by their associates and TURN A BLIND EYE.
    On the rare occasion that a good cop makes it past the filter and on to the
    force he is soon ferreted out by the system AND FIRED. Thus….THERE ARE NO GOOD COPS.

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This article is filed under the category(s) Police and was published February 13th, 2018 by Herschel Smith.

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