PHILADELPHIA – Murder charges against former Philadelphia Police Officer Mark Dial who was involved in the fatal shooting of Eddie Irizarry in the city’s Kensington neighborhood in August have been dismissed.
On August 14, officers spotted a vehicle, driven by Irizarry, 27, operating erratically around 12:00 p.m. and followed it for several blocks. After the car turned the wrong way down a one-way street and stopped, officers approached the vehicle, which then turned into a fatal shooting, Law Officer previously reported.
According to video of the encounter, two officers exit their police SUV with weapons drawn. One officer shouts “Show me your hands” and “He’s got a f—— knife.” Shouts of “Don’t move” and “I’ll f—— shoot you” are heard just as Dial runs up to Irizarry’s closed car window.
Bodycam video showed Dial, 27, discharging his weapon through the driver’s side window of the vehicle.
The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office charged Dial with murder, voluntary manslaughter, aggravated assault, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person and official oppression. He was arrested Sept. 8.
On Tuesday, the court played video footage of the deadly encounter leading to an emotional response from Irizarry’s family in the courtroom.
However, Philadelphia Municipal Judge Wendy Pew ruled there was insufficient evidence to proceed to trial and dismissed all charges against Dial, reported NBC Philadelphia.
“Despite what has been portrayed to the media, the facts will unmistakably show that Officer Mark Dial was legally justified in discharging his weapon while fearing for his life,” the officer’s attorney, Fortunato N. Perri Jr. previously told members of the press.
During the court proceedings on Tuesday, the defense argued that Dial was seen moving away from the vehicle when he opened fire, believing that the motorist was armed. The footage showed that Irizarry had a knife in his right hand.
Despited Judge Pew’s ruling, NBC Philadelphia reports that DA Larry Krasner’s office will appeal and still try to pursue charges against the officer.
“The District Attorney’s Office disagrees with the decision by Municipal Court Judge Wendy L. Pew to dismiss all criminal charges against defendant Mark Dial for the killing of Eddie Irizarry on August 14, 2023,” the office said in a statement. “Special Investigations Unit prosecutors will be filing an appeal of this decision to the Court of Common Pleas by the end of today. In keeping with our oath to seek justice, we will move to have all criminal charges, including Murder, reinstated against this defendant.”
Dial had been with the Philadelphia Police Department for five years prior to the shooting.