Sep 8, 2023 - News

Philly police officer charged with murder in Eddie Irizarry killing

Illustration of an evidence marker labeled with an exclamation mark next to a pair of handcuffs.

Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

Prosecutors charged Philadelphia police officer Mark Dial with murder for shooting and killing Eddie Irizarry last month in Kensington.

Why it matters: The charges come after Irizarry's family and activists held rallies pressing for prosecutors to take up the case, which had been the subject of conflicting police accounts.

Driving the news: District Attorney Larry Krasner announced the charges at a news conference Friday. He also released bodycam footage of the Aug. 14 shooting.

  • Krasner called for calm among city residents, saying his office wouldn't tolerate any "criminal unrest."
  • He said they decided to honor Irizarry family's request by releasing all of the two officers' body cam footage without redactions or blurring of Irizarry's face. The videos were more than 20 minutes long.

Irizarry was holding a "small open folding knife" against his thigh when Dial opened fire on him, according to a written statement from Krasner's office.

  • Krasner refused to comment on the videos at the news conference, saying they "spoke for themselves."
  • "We will not cover up for power. We will not cover up for insiderism. We will not cover up for politics," Krasner said.

The big picture: The DA has now charged four officers involved in on-duty shootings since he took office in 2018, per the Inquirer.

Zoom in: Dial, who has been with the department for five years, surrendered to authorities Friday morning.

  • Besides murder he faces other charges including voluntary manslaughter and aggravated assault.

The footage shows him shouting "I will f–king shoot you" moments after he approached Irizarry's car, which was parked the wrong way on East Willard Street.

  • Dial fired six shots at Irizarry, shattering the driver's side window. One shot went through the front windshield as Dial retreated toward the police car.
  • His partner can be heard telling police supervisors at the scene that Irizarry pulled out a knife and wielded it toward them from inside the car.

The other side: Dial's lawyers told the Inquirer that he heard someone yell that Irizarry had a gun.

  • FOP president John McNesby urged the public to withhold "judgment until all the evidence is presented during trial," per a statement.
  • "We intend to vigorously defend him against the charges," Fortunato Perri, an attorney for the police union, tells Axios. "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."

Of note: Police said they recovered two knives inside the car.

  • The lawyers for Irizarry's family said that he used one of them in his work as a mechanic, and that he didn't have a chance to comply with officers' orders to drop the knife before being shot.

Editor's note: This breaking story has been updated throughout.

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