PHILADELPHIA — A Philadelphia police officer who fatally shot a driver in his car, surrendered to officials Friday morning and will now face murder charges, prosecutors said.
Officer Mark Dial with the Philadelphia Police Department was involved in a fatal encounter with Eddie Irizarry on August 14. The officer surrendered on a criminal warrant and was scheduled to be arraigned later Friday, reported The Morning Call.
According to the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, Dial will face charges that include murder, voluntary manslaughter, aggravated assault, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person and official oppression. His attorney insists the use of lethal force was justified.
Police said officers spotted a vehicle, driven by Irizarry, 27, operating erratically around 12:00 p.m. Aug. 14 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.
The DA’s office said police bodycam video showed Dial discharging his weapon through the driver’s side window of the vehicle during the encounter. Dial fired six shots at Irizarry shortly after exiting his police unit and hurrying over to Irizarry’s car, according to the video, prosecutors said.
District Attorney Larry Krasner spoke to reporters during a news conference, and said the officers bodycam videos “are crucial evidence in the case and in many ways they speak for themselves.”
Irizarry’s family previously released video showing him being shot and killed by Dial just moments after they arrived in the 100 block of Willard Street in the city’s Kensington section, 6ABC Philadelphia reported.
The video begins showing Irizarry pulling his vehicle over on East Willard Street. A Philadelphia police SUV quickly arrives and pulls up alongside him.
Two officers exit the 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.
Dial then fires five shots at point-blank range, then runs past the front of the car while firing a sixth time. An officer then is heard making a “shots fired” call.
Fortunato N. Perri Jr. is representing Dial. He said a vigorous defense was planned.
“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,” Perri said in an email to The Associated Press.
Dial has been with the department for five years. He is currently suspended with the intent to terminate, reported The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5 President John McNesby released a statement on the charges against Officer Dial, NBC Philadelphia reported.
“Officer Mark Dial has the full support of the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5 as our attorneys continue to gather all the facts surrounding this tragic incident,” McNesby wrote. “We ask the public to reserve judgement until all the evidence is presented during trial. Like any other individual facing allegations, Officer Dial is presumed innocent and looks forward to helping his attorneys prepare a vigorous defense against these serious criminal charges.”