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[WaPo]West Virginia cop fired for not killing a man with an unloaded gun

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout: Debate & Discussion' started by Ottomaton, Sep 14, 2016.

  1. Ottomaton

    Ottomaton Contributing Member
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    source

    [rquoter]
    We’ve tracked countless cases here where cops were able to keep their jobs after killing unarmed people, killing people after responding to the wrong house, killing people and then lying about it . . . the list goes on.

    Give the Weirton, W.Va., police chief some credit. He’s come up with a new spin on the the same problem. He just fired a cop for not killing someone.

    From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

    [rquoter]
    After responding to a report of a domestic incident on May 6 in Weirton, W.Va., then-Weirton police officer Stephen Mader found himself confronting an armed man.

    Immediately, the training he had undergone as a Marine to look at “the whole person” in deciding if someone was a terrorist, as well as his situational police academy training, kicked in and he did not shoot.

    “I saw then he had a gun, but it was not pointed at me,” Mr. Mader recalled, noting the silver handgun was in the man’s right hand, hanging at his side and pointed at the ground.

    Mr. Mader, who was standing behind Mr. Williams’ car parked on the street, said he then “began to use my calm voice.”

    “I told him, ‘Put down the gun,’ and he’s like, ‘Just shoot me.’ And I told him, ‘I’m not going to shoot you brother.’ Then he starts flicking his wrist to get me to react to it.

    “I thought I was going to be able to talk to him and deescalate it. I knew it was a suicide-by-cop” situation.

    [/rquoter]

    Mader was responding to a 911 call from Williams’s girlfriend. In that call, she told police that Williams was threatening to kill himself, not anyone else.

    What Mader did upon arriving at the scene is a hell of a lot braver course of action than simply opening fire when the suspect doesn’t immediately disarm. What Mader did is in fact exactly what we want cops to do when someone is in crisis. It’s also precisely what law enforcement officers say they do on a daily basis — put themselves at risk in order to save lives. Mader should have been given a medal. Unfortunately, two more cops then showed up, and quickly shot Williams dead.

    As it turns out, Williams’s gun wasn’t loaded. There’s no way any of the police officers could have known that. But it does show that Mader had read Williams correctly — he wasn’t actually a threat to anyone but himself. His life could have been saved.

    The Weirton police department then refused to name Williams for three days and assigned an investigator to look into the shooting . . . who then promptly left for a weeklong vacation. Then came the punchline.

    [rquoter]
    Mr. Mader — speaking publicly about this case for the first time — said that when he tried to return to work on May 17, following normal protocol for taking time off after an officer-involved shooting, he was told to go see Weirton Police Chief Rob Alexander.

    In a meeting with the chief and City Manager Travis Blosser, Mr. Mader said Chief Alexander told him: “We’re putting you on administrative leave and we’re going to do an investigation to see if you are going to be an officer here. You put two other officers in danger.”

    Mr. Mader said that “right then I said to him: ‘Look, I didn’t shoot him because he said, ‘Just shoot me.’ ”

    On June 7, a Weirton officer delivered him a notice of termination letter dated June 6, which said by not shooting Mr. Williams he “failed to eliminate a threat.”

    [/rquoter]

    Over the weekend, the New York Times ran an article about the longstanding problem in which even the rare bad cops who do get fired are often able to quickly find work at another policy agency. Mader, who served a tour in Afghanistan and has two sons under five-years-old, told the Post-Gazette that he’s now studying for a commercial truck driving license, but he’d consider another job in law enforcement if he were offered one. I hope that happens. I hope he’s given the same second chance that corrupt, trigger-happy cops are given. My hunch is that he’ll be driving trucks.

    [/rquoter]
     
  2. Bobbythegreat

    Bobbythegreat Member
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    Understandable, you don't want people on the force unwilling to pull the trigger. The guy got lucky, but you can't count on that.
     
  3. Invisible Fan

    Invisible Fan Insider Newsletter™ 2X Diamond Member

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    Suspect's gun was pointed down. Fired cop served in the military, presumably, where they'd have to decide to pull the trigger often.
     
  4. Rocket River

    Rocket River Member

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    Killing people is part of the job . . . . . Deescalation and peaceful resolution? not so much

    Rocket River
     
  5. Cannonball

    Cannonball Contributing Member

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    I want cops willing to not pull the trigger if the situation doesn't call for it. Too many cops are pulling the trigger when they don't need to because they're too scared to try to handle the situation any other way.
     
  6. Bandwagoner

    Bandwagoner Contributing Member

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    How many is too many and how have you determined the reason is fear?
     
  7. Bobbythegreat

    Bobbythegreat Member
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    The problem is that the situation very easily could have called for it. The cop got lucky that the gun wasn't loaded. It's a ballsy move, but the next time the cop and others could end up dead or seriously hurt as a result.
     
  8. LosPollosHermanos

    LosPollosHermanos MoRley only Fan
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    Brave ****ing man. Disgrace to have him fired, I understand what they were saying but firing him is going too far.
     
  9. RocketsLegend

    RocketsLegend Member

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    The cop was putting his colleagues lives in danger.
     
  10. Ottomaton

    Ottomaton Contributing Member
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    I want to live in a world where the police care about the lives of the people they are policing and consider themselves as part of the people.

    This outcome is logically sound only if the police only care about the safety and well-being of the police, like a priesthood which exists only for the accumulation of more power for the priests rather than one that exists to bring the word of God to the people.
     
  11. Bobbythegreat

    Bobbythegreat Member
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    What you don't understand is that if this hero was wrong, he put EVERYONE at risk, not just himself. For all we know, he wouldn't have been the last victim if he was wrong. That's the reason why he's been freed of his responsibilities as a police officer and can now pursue a career as a hero instead.
     
  12. Ottomaton

    Ottomaton Contributing Member
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    Yeah, I do understand it. Life of the guy is worth less than potential hypothetical unrealized risk that other police officers may or may not face.

    You know what cops should really do? They can get a couple of AC-130's so when they get a call like this they can just put them in orbit overhead and reduce the building to rubble from a couple thousand feet in the air without having to send in boots on the ground. That way they don't have to put any cop lives at the slightest risk at all.

    The life of the suicidal guy should have some value in this equation. A woman called the cops because her husband was suicidal, and the responding cop was fired for not killing him on sight.
     
    #12 Ottomaton, Sep 14, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2016
  13. KingCheetah

    KingCheetah Contributing Member

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  14. Bobbythegreat

    Bobbythegreat Member
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    You sound a lot like you don't understand it though. We're not just talking about police officers here. We're talking about the safety of everyone around.

    The life of the armed and crazy guy does matter....it just doesn't matter as much as the life of literally anyone else.
     
  15. FranchiseBlade

    FranchiseBlade Contributing Member
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    It sounds like the cop's judgment was correct. We don't know that if there was a real danger that he couldn't have pulled the trigger. What we know was that there wasn't an actual danger and his decision ended up in nobody being killed.
     
  16. Bobbythegreat

    Bobbythegreat Member
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    The cop's judgement was wrong even though it happened to work out. That's the point.
     
  17. FranchiseBlade

    FranchiseBlade Contributing Member
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    Why was it wrong? He deemed it wasn't a shoot or die situation and he was correct in that determination. Or did he determine it was a shoot or die situation and still didn't shoot?
     
  18. bnb

    bnb Contributing Member

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    WaPo needs better headline editors...
     
  19. durvasa

    durvasa Contributing Member

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    Are all police officers trained to shoot to kill in that situation?
     
  20. heypartner

    heypartner Contributing Member

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    Maybe

    West Virginia cop fired for not unloading his gun on a man with an unloaded gun
     

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