Philadelphia police officer surrenders on murder charges weeks after fatal shooting


A Philadelphia police officer who shot and killed a driver turned himself in Friday and was charged with murder in the man’s death as prosecutors released graphic bodycam footage of the fatal confrontation.

Officer Mark Dial surrendered on a criminal warrant and was arraigned Friday on charges of murder, voluntary manslaughter, official oppression and four other counts. Dial did not comment as he walked past reporters after the arraignment. His lawyer insisted the shooting was justified, saying Dial thought 27-year-old Eddie Irizarry had a gun.

Police bodycam footage of the fatal shooting shows Dial firing his weapon at close range through the rolled-up driver’s side window of Irizarry’s sedan during a vehicle stop on Aug. 14. Dial shot Irizarry about seven seconds after getting out of a police SUV and striding over to Irizarry’s car, according to the video. He fired a total of six rounds.

The videos, pulled from Dial’s body-worn camera and the camera of a second officer on the scene, “are crucial evidence in the case and in many ways they speak for themselves,” District Attorney Larry Krasner said at a news conference.

Dial’s attorney, Fortunato N. Perri Jr., 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.

While the DA called him a former officer, because he no longer had authority as a law enforcement officer, the defendant remained on payroll.

Another defense lawyer, Brian J. McMonagle, called the decision to charge him with murder “appalling.”

“When police officers ordered him to show his hands, he instead produced a weapon and pointed it at an armed police officer,” McMonagle told reporters. “In no world (are) those facts murder. We intend to right this wrong.”

The bodycam footage shows Irizarry holding a knife in his right hand, by his right leg, before he was shot.

Krasner, the district attorney, declined to answer questions about what the videos showed but said the facts clearly supported the charges.

“We have been trying to be fair, fair to everyone. We have been trying to make it very clear that justice is evenhanded. It is evenhanded if you are powerful or not powerful, rich or not rich, famous or not famous, an insider or an outsider,” he said.

Authorities have said Dial shot Irizarry after officers spotted his car being driven erratically around noon Aug. 14 and followed it for several blocks. Officers approached as the driver turned the wrong way down a one-way street and stopped.

The department backtracked after initially claiming the officers made a traffic stop and shot a person outside the vehicle after he “lunged at” police with a knife. Outgoing Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said a review of the officers’ body-worn cameras “made it very clear that what we initially reported was not actually what happened.”

Dial, who has been on the force for five years, was suspended with intent to dismiss after officials said he refused to cooperate in the investigation of the killing.

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