For the first time, the City of Weirton is commenting about an officer involved shooting and the termination of an officer involved.
Officials say they had never planned to do this until a Pittsburgh newspaper ran an article over the weekend, which they say is “factually inaccurate” and one sided.
Headlines reading “Weirton terminates officer who did not fire at man with gun” and “Cop fired for not killing a man with an unloaded gun” are filling up social media timelines now across the country. Weirton city officials are strongly condemning those accusations saying officer Stephen Mader’s termination after the May 6 shooting was the result of multiple incidents that they say would have qualified for him being fired.
“…illegal searches in a vehicle to use of profanity with citizens regarding issues of that nature, and also, incidents of contaminating a crime scene of a potential homicide investigation,” said city manager Travis Blosser.
City officials stress that they did not participate in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s article because “we take our responsibility with employee personnel files seriously” for privacy purposes and they say Mader took advantage of that.
“(Mader is a) disgruntled employee doing a one-sided story, and that’s how that all got misplaced. His own statement contradicts his own tale to the Pittsburgh post gazette,” said police chief Rob Alexander.
They add the termination was not about Mader not shooting R.J. Williams.
“He escalated that situation rather than deescalating it based on his own statements with that individual on that night,” said Blosser.
Another issued addressed by City officials: the use of the wording of Williams “being shot in the back of the head.”
“He was shot in the right temporal lobe,” Blosser said.”When you start running news stories that he was shot in the back of the head, you perpetrate an argument among people that isn’t factually accurate, and to share the facts: he was shot in the right temporal lobe. That was based on the medical examiners report and a press conference that the county prosecutor had as well.”
“I understand that media wants to know now, but that’s just not the real world. There’s investigations. There’s statements. There’s people to track down. There’s lab testing and results that need to be done,” Alexander added.
The May shooting is still being investigated by the West Virginia State police as well as the ACLU and the Williams family.