Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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Ex-Philadelphia police officer charged with murder for shooting man in car

PHILADELPHIA – Philadelphia’s district attorney charged former police officer Mark Dial with murder on Friday for fatally shooting Eddie Irizarry as he sat in his car in August after being pursued by Dial and another police officer for alleged erratic driving.

Graphic body-camera footage aired at a press conference on Friday showed Dial and his partner driving slowly through a neighbourhood before pulling over. Less than 10 seconds after Dial exits his car, the video shows him shooting Irizarry several times as Irizarry sits in his car with the doors and windows closed.

The video then shows Dial and his partner dragging Irizarry’s limp, blood-covered body out of his car and into a police vehicle. Irizarry, 27, was transported to a hospital where his death from the gunshot wounds was ruled a homicide, according to a press release from Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner.

Mr Krasner said at Friday’s press conference that Irizarry’s family had requested that both body-camera videos be shown in their entirety, without any editing. The videos, he said, “speak for themselves” and support the charges against Dial.

In an emailed statement, Dial’s defence attorney said he would “vigorously” defend Dial against the charges.

“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,” attorney Fortunato Perri Jr wrote.

Dial turned himself in on Friday morning to face the charges, Mr Krasner said at the press conference.

In addition to murder, Dial faces charges of voluntary manslaughter, aggravated assault, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person, and official oppression, Mr Krasner said.

Soon after the shooting, Dial was suspended with the intention to terminate his employment by Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw, according to local news reports.

In a statement on Friday, Ms Outlaw said her department was still conducting an administrative investigation into the incident, and vowed to finish it “as soon as possible to ensure justice and closure is attained for all affected by the death of Mr Irizarry.”

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney urged residents to “remain peaceful in demonstrations and calls for accountability” as the city processes the tragedy.

“I have watched the footage and I understand that it may provoke anger and upset in our communities,” he said in a statement. REUTERS

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