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Watching The Cops
See other Watching The Cops Articles

Source: ACLU
URL Source: https://www.aclu.org/video/meet-off ... er-fired-trying-do-right-thing
Published: Feb 12, 2018
Author: ACLU
Post Date: 2018-02-13 06:10:12 by Gatlin
Keywords: None
Views: 83
Comments: 3

Early in the morning of May 6, 2016, Weirton Police Officer Stephen Mader responded to a domestic dispute call. When he arrived on the scene, he encountered R.J. Williams, a young African American man. When Officer Mader asked Mr. Williams to show his hands, Mr. Williams revealed that he was holding a gun. As Mr. Williams began waiving his gun around, Officer Mader ordered him to drop his weapon. Mr. Williams ignored Officer Mader’s demand and repeatedly responded, “Just shoot me.”

Officer Mader did not “just shoot” R.J. Williams. He analyzed the full situation. He did not just view Mr. Williams as an African American man. He didn’t even view him solely as a man with a gun. And given Mr. Williams’ anguished demeanor, his failure to aim his gun or focus any sort of aggression on others, and his plea to be shot, Officer Mader concluded that Mr. Williams was not a threat. He was attempting to commit suicide by cop.

In this tense moment, Officer Mader did exactly what we want our police officers to do. He calmed his voice and attempted to deescalate the situation. He attempted to save R.J. Williams’ life. Officer Mader looked Mr. Williams in the eye and said, “I’m not going to shoot you brother.”

In the meantime, Mr. Williams’ former girlfriend called 911 and reported that Mr. Williams had an unloaded gun and was suicidal. The 911 dispatcher relayed only that Mr. Williams had a gun. While Officer Mader was attempting to deescalate, two other officers arrived on the scene. At that point, Mr. Williams began to raise his gun. One of the newly-arrived officers shot and killed Mr. Williams.

When the officers approached Mr. Williams, they discovered that his gun was unloaded. Officer Mader’s deduction had turned out to be correct—R.J. Williams had not been a danger to anyone other than himself.

A young African American man was tragically killed by law enforcement officers. A father, a brother, a son is dead. And we, as a society, have failed him like we have so many others. Sadly, this is a story that we have heard far too often in this country. But what makes this story different is that a few weeks after Mr. Williams’ death, the Weirton Police Department fired Officer Mader for not shooting and killing R.J. Williams.

A police officer is not constitutionally entitled to use deadly force unless he or she reasonably believes the target poses an immediate threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or others. Officer Mader had determined just the opposite, that R.J. Williams was no threat to the safety of others. As such, Officer Mader was not constitutionally permitted to shoot Mr. Williams. Essentially, Officer Mader was fired for respecting R.J. Williams’ constitutional rights by not using deadly force.

Firing Stephen Mader for not killing R.J. Williams sends a chilling message to every law enforcement officer on the Weirton police force and across the country; they are to err on the side of killing citizens. And what message does firing Stephen Mader send to the community at large? What value does it assign to the life of R.J. Williams?

Today, along with the Law Office of Timothy P. O’Brien, we filed a lawsuit on behalf of Stephen Mader in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia against the City of Weirton. We simply cannot believe that our state’s public policy could permit a police officer to be terminated for not killing someone he reasonably concluded was no threat. After Mr. Mader spoke to the media about his termination, the City then engaged in a pattern of retaliation designed to destroy his reputation. Our lawsuit argues that in terminating Mr. Mader and its actions thereafter, the City violated his rights under the United States and West Virginia Constitutions.

We believe this lawsuit highlights the need for reforms at so many police departments around the state. We will continue to advocate for increased de-escalation training, implicit bias training and suicide prevention training for WV law enforcement officers. We will redouble our efforts to increase police transparency and improve community responsiveness and oversight of law enforcement activities.

We will not forget the tragic death of R.J. Williams. We must attempt to honor his legacy by fixing a broken culture in policing.

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#1. To: All (#0)

ACLU: West Virginia police officer terminated for not shooting black man wins settlement

WEIRTON, W.Va. (ABC7) — A former West Virginia police officer received a pay out of $175,000 in a settlement with the city after he was fired for not shooting and killing a distraught black man in May 2016, the ACLU-WV said.

The officer, Stephen Mader who worked for the Weirton Police Department, is said to have attempted to deescalate the situation instead of shooting armed R.J. Williams after coming to the conclusion that he was trying to commit suicide by cop, the ACLU stated in a press release.

Williams, who officials later learned had an unloaded gun, was eventually shot by an arriving officer.

A year after the shooting, Mader filed the wrongful termination lawsuit against the city of Weirton.

"The lawsuit argued, in part, that terminating a police officer for failing to shoot a person the officer deemed no threat to the officer or others was in violation of West Virginia public policy," the ACLU also stated in the press release.

Gatlin  posted on  2018-02-13   6:16:25 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#2. To: Gatlin (#1)

The officer, Stephen Mader who worked for the Weirton Police Department, is said to have attempted to deescalate the situation instead of shooting armed R.J. Williams after coming to the conclusion that he was trying to commit suicide by cop, the ACLU stated in a press release.

Williams, who officials later learned had an unloaded gun, was eventually shot by an arriving officer.

I bet the officer that did the shooting kept his job. Kudos to Stephen Mader who made the morally correct choice and decided to de-escalate the situation - just goes to show you what happens to good cops.

“Truth is treason in the empire of lies.” - Ron Paul

Those who most loudly denounce Fake News are typically those most aggressively disseminating it.

Deckard  posted on  2018-02-13   6:21:14 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#3. To: Deckard (#2)

I bet the officer that did the shooting kept his job.
As he should. He did not know that Williams’ gun was unloaded and Williams refused to drop the gun.

Good Shoot!

Kudos to Stephen Mader who made the morally correct choice and decided to de- escalate the situation - just goes to show you what happens to good cops.
Stephen Mader is a dumb asshole and should never have been a police officer. He is damned lucky that his stupid ass is still alive today. He definitely should have been fired and now maybe he can become a priest of chaplain. He sure missed his calling by becoming a police officer.

Find out what happened to a cop who was not as lucky as stupid Stephen Mader....read this:

Wounded Bremerton cop had tried to help man who shot him

Bremerton Police Officer Kent Mayfield, one of two officers wounded in a shootout with Willie Floyd McCord on Sunday, had tried to help McCord ...

With a gun in each hand, police say, McCord opened fire on the two officers just after 1 a.m. Sunday, grazing McComas’ waist and striking Mayfield twice in the abdomen, below his protective vest. The officers returned fire, killing McCord.

Gatlin  posted on  2018-02-13   7:19:37 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

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