Officer Who Was Fired After He Chose Not To Shoot a Distraught Suspect Wins $75K Settlement
A police officer in West Virginia was paid $175,000 to settle a wrongful-termination lawsuit after he was fired following his decision not to shoot a distraught suspect who was holding an unloaded handgun.
The lawsuit accused the Weirton Police Department of wrongfully terminating officer Stephen Mader after he chose not to shoot 23-year-old Ronald “R.J.” Williams Jr. 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, according to CNN.
The officer told the news network that Williams was “visibly choked up” and told Mader to shoot him. As a Marine veteran who served in Afghanistan, Mader said that he concluded Williams wasn’t a threat and so he tried to de-escalate the situation.
Mader was trying to get Williams to drop his gun as two other Weirton police officers arrived. But 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.
“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.”
Mader’s lawsuit says he was fired due to his “failure to meet probationary standards of an officer” and “apparent difficulties in critical incident reasoning,” according to the report.
Weirton City Manager Travis Blosser told the network that Mader was fired for “a totality of circumstances.”