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Stephen Mader, Cop Fired for not Shooting Man, Gets $175K

Image: Stephen Mader, Cop Fired for not Shooting Man, Gets $175K

By    |   Tuesday, 13 February 2018 12:33 PM

Stephen Mader, a former West Virginia police officer who was fired for not shooting a man he said he thought was suicidal, will get $175,000 in a federal wrongful termination settlement.

The Guardian reported that Mader also got a pledge from the Weirton Police Department that it wouldn’t try to prevent him from obtaining a new job elsewhere in law enforcement.

Mader was the first officer to respond to a 2016 call involving R.J. Williams, 23, who was armed with a weapon, The Guardian said. Mader, a military veteran with tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, said he determined that Williams was not a threat to him or fellow officers and began trying to calm Williams down.

Meanwhile, two other officers arrived at the scene and shot and killed Williams, The Guardian said. Mader was fired 10 days later.

"He wasn't angry," Mader told the Guardian. "He wasn't aggressive, he didn't seem in position to want to use a gun against anybody. He never pointed it at me. I didn't perceive him as an imminent threat."

Tim O'Brien, Mader's lead attorney, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that court documents and depositions showed that prior incidents given for the firing were not factors in the decision to release him.

Weirton officials had said Mader was verbally warned about a parking ticket incident in which he reportedly used profanity and they cited another incident in which he was accused of contaminating a crime scene, the Post-Gazette said, but neither resulted in a suspension.

"It was clear the reason Mr. Mader was fired was because he decided not to shoot and kill an individual who he concluded did not pose a threat to himself or others," O'Brien told the Post-Gazette. "What Mr. Mader did was to honor and comply with the requirements of the Fourth Amendment."

Weirton officials said, according to the Post-Gazette, that their insurance carrier made the call to settle and they still felt they made the right decision to fire Mader.

The Post-Gazette said that during trial discovery, the city entered a letter written by Weirton Lt. Eric Patterson and signed by three officers who worked with Mader the night of the shooting saying that they had "a lack of confidence" in him and felt that he would put their lives "in danger."

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Stephen Mader, a former West Virginia police officer who was fired for not shooting a man he said he thought was suicidal, will get $175,000 in a federal wrongful termination settlement.
stephen mader, fired cop
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2018-33-13
Tuesday, 13 February 2018 12:33 PM
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