Stephen Mader, 27, used his military training to try and de-escalate the situation when he encountered ‘visibly distraught’ RJ Williams, 23.
Williams was shot dead by another officer who arrived at the scene later on. That officer was cleared of any wrongdoing. Mader was responding to a domestic violence call on May 6, 2016, in West Virginia and he asked Williams to show his hands. When he did it became clear that he had a gun and Williams told him to drop it.
Williams refused and he told the police officer to shoot him, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.
They said: ‘Rather than shoot, Mader returned to his military training and attempted to de-escalate the situation. ‘He softened his voice, looked Williams in the eye and said: ‘I’m not going to shoot you, brother. I’m not going to shoot you”.’ While Mader was negotiating with Williams, two other officers arrived on the scene.
Williams raised his gun and one of the newly-arrived officers fired four shots, killing him, the ACLU said. The gun turned out to be unloaded. City officials said Mader ‘froze on the scene’ and was being fired for that reason, along with several other infractions. Mader will receive $175,000 for wrongful termination after filing a lawsuit against the city of Weirton, West Virginia.