A police officer from West Virginia was sacked after he refused to shoot a black man who had an unloaded gun.
Stephen Mader was dismissed by the City of Weirton after being called out to a domestic dispute where he was confronted by a man – Ronald D. Williams Jr. – in possession of an firearm.
After investigating why Mader decided not to shoot Williams (pictured below), it was concluded that he had ‘endangered other officers’ and ‘failed to eliminate a threat’.
Mader has recounted the play of events, which happened in May, to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. He explained that Williams was holding the gun to his side and had asked Mader to shoot him, in a suspected ‘suicide-by-cop’.
Mader added that he had implemented his Marine training and examined ‘the whole person’ when deciding whether Williams was a threat or not.
Sadly, two more police officers arrived on the scene, saw Williams step forward and fatally shot him on sight.
When asked about the other officers who did open fire, Mader said:
They don’t know anything I heard. All they know is [Mr. Williams] is waving a gun at them. It’s a shame it happened the way it did, but, I don’t think they did anything wrong.
Although there is some truth in claims that Mader put other officers in danger, in hindsight, the ex-officer’s choice not to shoot was the right one, as William’s gun was unloaded.
The tragic incident shows how a system that dismisses a prudent man who could have saved a life and yet glorifies men who shoot first and think later is fatally flawed.