A Police Officer In West Virginia Was Fired For Not Shooting Am Armed Black Man
It’s gonna be curious to see the type of people who come out with their capes flappin’ in the wind after they read this police-involved shooting story we found in the Post-Gazette…
After responding to a report of a domestic incident on May 6 in Weirton, W.Va., then-Weirton police officer Stephen Mader found himself confronting an armed man.
Immediately, the training he had undergone as a Marine to look at “the whole person” in deciding if someone was a terrorist, as well as his situational police academy training, kicked in and he did not shoot.
“I saw then he had a gun, but it was not pointed at me,” Mr. Mader recalled, noting the silver handgun was in the man’s right hand, hanging at his side and pointed at the ground.
The suspect in question was named Ronald “R.J.” Williams, Jr, he was 23 years old. Officer Mader was not interested in taking his life.
Mr. Mader, who was standing behind Mr. Williams’ car parked on the street, said he then “began to use my calm voice.”
“I told him, ‘Put down the gun,’ and he’s like, ‘Just shoot me.’ And I told him, ‘I’m not going to shoot you brother.’ Then he starts flicking his wrist to get me to react to it.
“I thought I was going to be able to talk to him and deescalate it. I knew it was a suicide-by-cop” situation.
Sounds like a reasonable cop with a good head on his shoulders. However…
But just then, two other Weirton officers arrived on the scene, Mr. Williams walked toward them waving his gun — later found to be unloaded — between them and Mr. Mader, and one of them shot Mr. Williams’ in the back of the head just behind his right ear, killing him.
A month-long West Virginia State Police investigation later concluded the shooting was justified, a decision the Hancock County, W.Va., prosecutor, Jim Davis, announced at a news conference on June 8.
Mader took his required time off after an officer-involved shooting, but when he came back to work he was told to go see Weirton Police Chief Rob Alexander and City Manager Travis Blosser where he was told:
“We’re putting you on administrative leave and we’re going to do an investigation to see if you are going to be an officer here. You put two other officers in danger.”
Mr. Mader said that “right then I said to him: ‘Look, I didn’t shoot him because he said, ‘Just shoot me.’ ”
On June 7, a Weirton officer delivered him a notice of termination letter dated June 6, which said by not shooting Mr. Williams he “failed to eliminate a threat.”
That’s right. Former officer Mader was fired from his job because he did not want to gun down a black man who he felt was LOOKING to die.
What kind of message does that send to officers around the country? Kill or be fired??
Moreover, if the arriving officers ultimately shot and killed Mr. Williams then how much danger were they REALLY in?
R.I.P. to R.J. Williams, it’s beyond sad and infuriating that your life could have been spared if more cops dealt with people like Officer Mader.
Image via Poole Family/USMCLife