Cop Fired for Not Killing Man

Stephen Mader hoped to 'deescalate' the suicide-by-cop situation
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 13, 2016 11:21 AM CDT
A police vehicle is seen in Minneapolis.   (Wikimedia)

(Newser) – In an odd case out of West Virginia, a police officer has been fired for not shooting a man. Authorities in Weirton say police officer Stephen Mader risked the lives of other officers when he failed to shoot a man holding a gun on May 6. Ronald D. Williams Jr.'s girlfriend had called 911 claiming Williams was threatening to kill himself, and when Mader arrived at the scene, "he had a gun, but it was not pointed at me," he tells the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "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," the former Marine adds. "I thought I was going to be able to talk to him and deescalate it. I knew it was a suicide-by-cop" attempt.

Instead, one of two other officers who then arrived fatally shot Williams, 23, in the back of the head as he walked toward the officers waving the gun, later found to be unloaded. A state police investigation determined the shooting was justified and Mader agrees it was. But he doesn't agree with the city's decision to fire him a month later. His notice of termination claims he "failed to eliminate a threat," and in separate incidents, swore at a woman, and failed to determine that the death of an elderly woman, who suffered a stroke and fell in her home, was suspicious. As a probationary employee, Mader could've been fired for any reason. Radley Balko at the Washington Post says he "should have been given a medal." (Read more police shooting stories.)

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