West Virginia Cop Terminated for Not Shooting
News| | By Matthew D'Onofrio
“I thought I was going to be able to talk to him and deescalate it,” said Mader, who recalled using what he learned in his Marine and situational police academy training to not shoot immediately. Mader, standing behind Williams’ parked car on the street, noticed Williams’ silver handgun was in right hand yet not pointed at anyone but instead hanging at his side, aiming downwards at the ground.
Before the situation progressed, whether positively or negatively, two officers rolled up behind Mader and swiftly shot Williams dead.Following the officer-involved shooting, an investigation showed that Williams’ gun was not loaded. Although there was no way for the cops to have known that, Mader’s read of Williams was correct – it was a suicide-by-cop situation. Williams was a threat to only himself and it is terribly unfortunate his now 5-month-old son must grow up without a dad. The tragedy only got worse when Mader returned to work on May 17 after following normal protocol to take time off. He was put on administrative leave for putting two other officers in danger, as Weirton Police Chief Rob Alexander put it. Mader did explain his case but to no avail. On June 7, Mader received a letter of termination which reasoned that by not shooting Williams, Mader “failed to eliminated a threat.” Although two other incident were mentioned in the decision, it is apparent this was the core reason for his firing. And unlike most other situations where a cop is fired – which is a rare occurrence – Mader did not get to keep his pension. Due to being a probationary employee, Mader was able to be fired for any reason and an attorney told Mader the best possible situation for him would be resignation.
“I’ll take the termination instead of the resignation because I didn’t do anything wrong,” Mader told the attorney. “To resign and admit I did something wrong here would have ate at me. I think I’m right in what I did. I’ll take it to the grave.”
It was uncovered that Mader, who is a father to two sons under five, is currently studying to be a commercial truck driver but told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette he would consider another job in law enforcement if offered.
A former-Marine who served a tour in Afghanistan and did not unnecessarily take someone’s life probably deserves another chance more than others.