WEIRTON, WV (WPXI) A former West Virginia police officer who says he was fired for not shooting a suspect in 2016 will get a $175,000 settlement from his former department.
Former Weirton officer Stephen Mader, who is white, filed a federal lawsuit against Weirton after he claims he was fired for not shooting an African-American suspect during a domestic dispute.
“At the end of the day, I’m happy to put this chapter of my life to bed,” Mader said. “The events leading to my termination were unjustified and I’m pleased a joint resolution has been met.
Mader had been with the Weirton Police Department less than a year when he was called to a domestic dispute in May 2016. He encountered Ronald R.J. Williams outside a home after he had allegedly gotten into an argument with his ex-girlfriend.
Mader said Williams was holding a gun and urging Mader to shoot him. Mader did not fire, and said he attempted to deescalate the situation. Another officer who arrived on scene seconds later opened fire, killing Williams. Investigators later learned that Williams’ gun was not loaded.
Mader was placed on probation after the chief accused him of putting officers at risk because he didn’t shoot. Mader was later fired. The city claimed he was fired for other incidents, but Mader believes he was terminated because he didn’t shoot the suspect.