Progressive District Attorney Charges Philly Police Officer with Murder in Shooting Death of Man Sitting in Car

PC: ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / Staff Photographer at The Philadelphia Inquirer

By The Vanguard

PHILADELPHIA, PA – Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner has charged a Philadelphia police officer with murder and assorted other crimes in the shooting death of a man—it’s the fourth officer the progressive district attorney has prosecuted since he took office in 2018.

Krasner, who the New York Times notes has “clashed with conservatives for years over his approach to crime,” charged the officer for fatally shooting at near point blank range a 27-year-old man, weeks after police officials admitted body camera footage of the killing showed a different account than what the officer initially described.

Mark Dial was charged with voluntary manslaughter, aggravated assault, simple assault, possession of an instrument of crime, reckless endangerment of another person and official oppression in the shooting death of Eddie Irizarry, prosecutors said at a news conference Friday, reported the NY Times.

Dial fatally shot Irizarry around noon Aug. 14 after what the police initially said was a car chase, initially claiming Irizarry lunged at them with a knife. But police officials said two days later that body camera footage showed the man was still in his car when the officer shot him.  

Judge Christian DiCicco of the Philadelphia Municipal Court set bail for Dial at $500,000. 

The NY Times said, “Family members have described Mr. Irizarry as a quiet man who liked to work on motorcycles and was being treated for serious mental illness, including schizophrenia. He had moved to Philadelphia about seven years ago from Puerto Rico and had difficulty understanding English, his family said.”

Krasner said at a news conference Friday “the videos speak for themselves,” describing the body camera footage, which was released to the public on Friday.

“Firing six consecutive shots at close range at a vital part of the body of a person, under the law, is strongly supportive, together with other evidence, of all of these charges,” he said.

Dial, 27, a five-year veteran of the department who was suspended from the police department in August with intent to dismiss, turned himself in to the police Friday morning.  

The Times recounted Dial and his partner, whose name was not released, were “sitting in a marked police car when they saw a Toyota Corolla they said was driving erratically in the Kensington neighborhood in northern Philadelphia. The officers then followed the car as it turned the wrong way down a one-way street and watched it pull into a parking spot midway down the block.”

Dial’s body camera footage, the Times wrote, “shows him racing out of the passenger seat and within seconds telling Mr. Irizarry, with an expletive, that he ‘will shoot’ him and quickly firing his gun multiple times through the driver’s seat window. Mr. Dial calls in ‘shots fired, shots fired’ to his radio, and Mr. Irizarry can be seen covered in blood, his head bobbing.”

The video shows Dial telling Irizarry to “keep those hands up right where I can see them” as Irizarry starts to slump over in his seat. Dial’s partner tells him to get the victim out of the car, who’s then taken to the hospital.

“When Mr. Dial arrives at a hospital, he appears to take Mr. Irizarry by the belt and pulls him out of the car,” said the Times, noting “Hospital personnel can be heard saying on the video, ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa,’ in what appeared to be in response to the way he pulled Mr. Irizarry, as the personnel load him onto a gurney and one member of the attending staff begins CPR.”

Irizarry was pronounced dead at the hospital hours later.

The NY Times said, “Investigators found two knives in Mr. Irizarry’s car, a kitchen knife and a serrated folding knife, the police have said. Mr. Irizarry’s sister told The New York Times in an interview that her brother carried a pocketknife everywhere he went but ‘always as a tool, not as a weapon.’”

Brian McMonagle, a lawyer for Dial, told reporters outside a precinct building in Philadelphia on Friday that the decision to charge his client with murder was “appalling…this decision today puts police officers in peril at a time when they’re dealing with perhaps the most violent time in our city’s history,” according to the NY Times.

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