Ex-Philadelphia police officer charged with murder for shooting man in car

Conflicting accounts prompt prosecutors to release footage of fatal shooting of Eddie Irizarry

Philly Boricuas, a local Puerto Rican community and activism group, rallies in support of Eddie Irizarry in Philadelphia. The Philadelphia Inquirer / AP
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Prosecutors in Philadelphia have charged a former police officer with murder in the fatal shooting of a man who had been pulled over for alleged erratic driving.

The police department had initially said the driver, Eddie Irizarry, had exited his car and “lunged at” officers with a knife. But police body-camera and local surveillance footage showed he never left the vehicle.

Footage aired at a press conference on Friday showed then-officer Mark Dial and his partner driving through a neighbourhood before pulling Mr Irizarry over. Mr Dial was sacked after the August 14 shooting.

Less than 10 seconds after Mr Dial exits his car, the video shows him shooting Mr Irizarry several times as he sits in his car with the doors and windows closed.

The body-cam footage shows Mr Irizarry, 27, holding a knife in his right hand, by his right leg, before he was shot.

Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner said Mr Irizarry's family had requested that both body-cam videos be shown in their entirety, without any editing. The videos, he said, “speak for themselves” and support the charges against Mr Dial.

Mr Dial's lawyer said he would “vigorously” defend the ex-police officer 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,” lawyer Fortunato Perri Jr wrote in a statement.

Mr Dial turned himself in on Friday morning to face the charges. In addition to murder, he faces charges of voluntary manslaughter, aggravated assault, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person and official oppression.

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney urged residents to “remain peaceful in demonstrations and calls for accountability”.

Updated: September 08, 2023, 9:49 PM