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Update: USMC veteran West Virginia officer wins suit against city for wrongful termination


Stephen Mader, center, at his swearing in ceremony. Credit: City of Weirton Facebook page.
Stephen Mader, center, at his swearing in ceremony. Credit: City of Weirton Facebook page.

A US Marine veteran who reportedly lost his job with a West Virginia Police Department for not shooting a suicidal man has recently reached a settlement $175,000.

Former Weirton Police officer Stephen Mader reached the settlement with the city after taking his 2016 termination to court, claiming he was let go for attempting to save the life of an armed man who was attempting “suicide by cop.”

The incident in question dates back to May of that year, when Mader -who at the time was a probationary officer- encountered an armed Ronald Williams during a domestic call, noting that the suspect was “visibly distraught.”

Despite Williams’ pleas for Mader to shoot him, the USMC veteran -who served in Afghanistan and has extensive experience concerning escalation of force techniques- attempted to talk down the suspect in an effort to save a life.

However, two other officers would soon arrive on the scene, with one fatally shooting Williams after the suspect raised his weapon.

Shortly after, Mader would be relieved of duty under the grounds of “failing to meet probationary standards of an officer” and “apparent difficulties in critical incident reasoning.” At one point, he would be called a “coward” by one of his colleagues.

Eventually, Mader would file a federal lawsuit, claiming he was fired for failing to shoot a man, whom was later found to have an unloaded handgun and -after review of the case- was clearly attempting “suicide by cop.”

Teaming up with the ACLU of West Virginia, Mader -after months of legal proceedings- would reach a $175,000 settlement with the city of Weirton, Pennsylvania, despite WPD’s insistence that he was fired for other reasons.

“At the end of the day, I’m happy to put this chapter of my life to bed,” Mader said in a statement. “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.”

According to the Washington Post, the settlement was reached with the city’s insurance carrier and put an end to a protracted legal battle that brought up countless debates concerning use and escalation of force, particularly with suicidal persons.

An investigation would reveal that Williams only grabbed his gun upon learning that police were on the way, claiming that he was aiming to be shot by officers.

In the aftermath of the incident and subsequent lawsuit, Mayer currently works as a truck driver but continues to live in Wierton.

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  1. This is somewhat shocking. I would never condone not stopping an obvious risk to others but this officer was able to make a determination that in his opinion this situation was not a threat to others. With all the criticism of police shootings I am amazed at an officer being first for making a decision that shooting the subject was not necessary


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