With the repeated murders of African-Americans by police, one would imagine that law enforcement would attempt to curb the occurrence of such homicides. But, this was not the case for Stephen Mader, a Caucasian officer previously employed in Weirton, West Virginia.
In June, Mader lost his job for not shooting at a black man with an unloaded gun back in May. Not until this past Sunday did Mader publicly speak about the incident, calling out his employer and colleagues.
In a case that reflects how twisted race relations are in America, Mader’s employer claimed that he put two other officers at risk by refusing to shoot at an armed black man whom he did not perceive as a threat.
Mader, who is a former Marine, responded to a call about a domestic incident and found himself faced with an armed man, Ronald D. Williams, Jr., a 23-year-old Pittsburgh resident.
Williams was holding a gun pointed towards the ground and did not appear to be threatening, according to Mader’s interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Mader said, “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 de-escalate it. I knew it was a ‘suicide-by-cop’ situation.”
But, Mader’s efforts to control the situation were in vain, upon the arrival of his two colleagues, also white.
When the other officers came to the scene, Williams began waving his gun around. It was later determined that the gun was unloaded. One of the officers then fatally shot Williams in the head behind his right ear.
When Mader went back to work after the homicide, he followed the usual protocol of reporting a shooting. That’s when his boss Rob Alexander, Weirton Police Chief, unexpectedly called him into his office.
Mader recalls Alexander telling him, “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.”
Mader then replied to his boss, “Look, I didn’t shoot him because he said, ‘Just shoot me.’” But, regardless of Mader’s good intentions to help Williams, his boss turned a tone-deaf ear and fired him several weeks later.
On June 7, Mader received an official dismissal letter for “failing to eliminate a threat.” A police investigation by the Weirton department determined that the homicide was justified, The Independent reported.
Of the killing, Mader said, “It’s a shame it happened the way it did, but, I don’t think [my colleagues] did anything wrong.”
Mader further explained that there’s nothing that a lawyer could do to help him get his job back, which is unfortunate considering America could use more officers who use discretionary caution when handling domestic calls.
Banner photo credit: Facebook, City of Weirton