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Philadelphia Police arrest officer for shooting death of Eddie Irizarry

UPI
Philadelphia Police on Friday arrested one of their rank for the death of Eddie Irizarry, a man who was shot dead while he was sitting in his vehicle in August. Photo courtesy of Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner

Sept. 9 (UPI) -- Philadelphia Police on Friday arrested one of their rank for the death of Eddie Irizarry, a man who was shot dead while he was sitting in his vehicle in August.

Mark Dial, the 27-year-old officer, has been charged by the office of Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner with murder, voluntary manslaughter, aggravated assault, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person, official oppression and possession of an instrument of crime.

Dial was arraigned Friday and posted 10% of a $500,000 bail.

"The allegations brought against defendant Mark Dial today are among the most serious in our criminal legal system and are the culmination of weeks of investigative work," Krasner said in a statement.

"As they do in all criminal proceedings, our Special Investigations Unit will continue to seek the truth of what happened on August 14 and what led to the killing of Mr. Irizarry, who was shot to death in his vehicle with the windows up."

Prosecutors have also released body-worn camera footage that shows the shooting death of Irizarry.

"We intend to vigorously defend him against the charges," Dial's attorney Fortunato Perri told WCAU-TV.

"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."

Irizarry, 27, was allegedly driving his Toyota Corolla erratically in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia around noon on Aug. 14 when Dial and his unnamed partner started following him.

After what police have called a "car chase," Irizarry pulled his car into a parking spot on East Willard Street.

The camera footage shows Dial and his partner approaching Irizarry's car from both the driver's and passenger's side with their weapons drawn.

The video footage refutes claims police previously made that Irizarry had lunged at the officers with a knife. Instead, it shows Irizarry rolling up his driver's side window as Dial's partner orders him to show his hands and appears to say, "He's got a knife."

"I will [expletive] shoot you," Dial shouts at Irizarry, who remains seated in his car.

Just seconds later, Dial fires off six shots at Irizarry at close range through the car door, the footage shows. Irizarry can be seen bloody and motionless as Dial repeatedly orders him to keep his hands up.

Dial and his partner then dragged his body from the car, put him into their police car, and drove him to a nearby hospital. Police footage shows Dial walking into the hospital and washing his hands clean of Irizarry's blood. He was declared dead later that day.

Investigators have said they found two knives inside his car, including a kitchen knife and a serrated knife, The New York Times reported. It was not immediately clear where in his car those knives were found.

Lawyers for Dial have painted the shooting as an act of self-defense in remarks to the Times and alleged that he heroically drove Irizarry to the hospital "in an effort to save his life."