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Police union offers 'full support' to Philly cop charged with murder of Eddie Irizarry, despite video contradicting initial claims

close up of black philadelphia police uniform showing badge and patch
Philadelphia Police Officer Mark Dial (not pictured) was charged Friday with killing Irizarry during a traffic stop in August.William Thomas Cain/Getty Images
  • The Philadelphia police union is standing behind an officer who was been charged with murder.

  • Officer Mark Dial is accused of unjustly killing Eddie Irizarry during a traffic stop in August.

  • The union said in a statement that Dial, who turned himself in on Friday, has its "full support."

The union that represents Philadelphia police is standing by an officer who was charged with murder on Friday, despite the release of a video that flatly contradicts initial claims that the killing took place only after the deceased charged at law enforcement with a knife.

During an August 14 traffic stop in the Kensington neighborhood, Philadelphia Police Officer Mark Dial shot and killed the 27-year-old Eddie Irizarry, just seconds after getting out of his police cruiser, according to bodycam footage released Friday by District Attorney Larry Krasner, who announced that Dial will face charges including murder, voluntary manslaughter, and aggravated assault.

"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" by police, Krasner said Friday.

One of the country's most progressive prosecutors, Krasner said his office stands for "even-handed justice, regardless of pressure to favor members of any group." (He has charged a number of officers with wrongdoing, previously telling Insider that "Legit cops hate dirty cops.")

When the shooting first took place, police claimed that Irizarry — pulled over, police say, after driving the wrong way down a street — was killed after he had ignored "multiple commands" to drop a knife and "lunged" at officers, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. But that story was soon walked back after police reviewed a video showing that Irizarry never left his vehicle.

officer's arm visible pointing gun at car window

Last month, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said that Dial would be fired after refusing to cooperate with her own department's investigation. But the president of the local Fraternal Order of Police, John McNesby, said Friday that his union is standing behind Dial.

"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," he said in a statement provided to Insider. He asked for the public to "reserve judgment" until all facts are presented at 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."

Earlier on Friday, one of Dial's lawyers, Brian McMonagle, told reporters that his client acted in self-defense when fired less than six seconds after exiting his cruiser, falsely believing that Irizarry was holding a gun.

Although it is still rare for a police officer to be charged with murder for their actions on the job, several officers have been prosecuted for on-duty killings in Philadelphia since Krasner was first elected in 2017. One has been convicted.

Three years ago, former Philadelphia Police Officer Erich Ruch Jr. was charged with murder over the killing of an unarmed Black man, Dennis Plowden, who was shot in the head after a high-speed car chase. He was ultimately found guilty of voluntary manslaughter and, despite prosecutors seeking a multi-year sentence, released from prison this summer after serving less than 12 months behind bars.

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