Over the last few years, there have been far too many stories of police officers fatally shooting young black men and boys. And it is for this reason that tensions between the police and those from ethnic minority backgrounds are far higher than they should be in this modern age.
However, this particular story is about a white, former police officer's decision not to shoot a black suspect, despite the fact that he was armed with a gun.
Twenty-seven-year-old Stephen Mader was fired for refusing to shoot a 23-year-old armed black man back in 2016, and has now been given a $175,000 settlement for wrongful termination. "At the end of the day, I'm happy to put this chapter of my life to bed," Mader said in a statement.
The incident happened on May 6, 2016, in Weirton, West Virginia. Mader responded to a domestic violence call from the Weirton Police Department and arrived to find Ronald "RJ" Williams Jr. with a gun.
Williams is now believed to have been suicidal, and Mader did not believe he posed a threat to him or any other officer. Instead, of shooting the man, Mader wanted to calm him down by reasoning with him.
“He wasn’t angry,” Mader told the Guardian. “He wasn’t aggressive, he didn’t seem in a position to want to use a gun against anybody. He never pointed it at me. I didn’t perceive him as an imminent threat."
Mader explained to CNN that Williams was "visibly choked up" and told Mader he wanted to be shot.