An image from police body camera footage shows Philadelphia police Officer Mark Dial with his weapon drawn at Eddie Irizarry on Aug. 14 in Philadelphia.
A judge in Philadelphia on Tuesday dismissed multiple criminal charges, including murder, against a former officer who fatally shot a 27-year-old man, Eddie Irizarry, in August.
District Attorney Larry Krasner charged Mark Dial ― who was a Philadelphia police officer at the time of the shooting but has since been fired ― with murder, voluntary manslaughter, aggravated assault, simple assault and several other counts earlier this month.
But Philadelphia Municipal Court Judge Wendy Pew dismissed them all during a preliminary hearing on Tuesday.
“He was firing while trying to take cover,” Dial’s defense attorney, Brian McMonagle, said of his client in court, while arguing that Krasner’s office should never have filed the charges.
“I agree with you 100%,” Pew said as she threw the case out.
Police say they stopped Irizarry on Aug. 14 because he was driving erratically. Officers initially said that Irizarry “lunged” at police with a knife. However, Krasner’s office released body camera footage that showed Dial leaving his vehicle and fatally shooting Irizarry within seconds. The footage does not show Irizarry lunging at Dial.
In the footage, Dial is seen firing multiple shots at Irizarry, who is sitting in the car with his driver’s-side window rolled up. The encounter between Dial and Irizarry lasts no longer than five seconds.
Dial’s defense team argued that he acted in self-defense. Prosecutors, however, argued that murder charges were appropriate since Dial approached the traffic stop with his weapon already drawn.
Dial’s partner, Michael Morris, said in court Tuesday that he shouted “Knife” when they approached Irizarry’s car. Footage also shows Morris yelling “Gun,” although no firearm was recovered from the scene. Morris argued in court that Irizarry’s knife could have looked like a gun.
Following the shooting, Dial was placed on a 30-day suspension by Philadelphia police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw, who announced her resignation earlier this month. Dial, who had been with the department for five years, was fired on Sept. 18, according to police.
Dial’s attorneys said he was released Tuesday.
“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,” Krasner said Tuesday 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,” Krasner said. “In keeping with our oath to seek justice, we will move to have all criminal charges, including Murder, reinstated against this defendant.”
Cherelle Parker, the Democratic nominee for Philadelphia mayor, weighed in on Tuesday’s news in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.
“While it is ultimately up to our judicial system to determine guilt or innocence in any criminal case, I want to be very clear: The shooting death of Mr. Irizarry shocked my conscience and the consciousness of our city,” wrote Parker, who is virtually certain to win the general mayoral election in November.
“We need a Police Department that receives the very best training that exists,” she wrote, “and we need a focus and commitment to community policing to create much stronger bonds between neighborhoods and police everywhere.”