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Police officer who fatally shot Eddie Irizarry faces murder, other charges

<i>Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto/AP</i><br/>
Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto/AP

By Danny Freeman, Kelly McCleary, Ray Sanchez, Samantha Beech and Brynn Gingras, CNN

(CNN) — The police officer who fatally shot Eddie Irizarry during a traffic stop last month was charged with murder, the Philadelphia district attorney said Friday after releasing body camera footage of the”extremely violent” encounter.

The unedited footage shows Officer Mark Dial firing into Irizarry’s car through the rolled up driver’s side window roughly five seconds after exiting a police car.

Immediately before the officer fires six shots, an unidentified voice from outside the car is heard saying, “I will f**king shoot you!”

Irizarry, bloodied and unresponsive, was pulled out of the car by an officer and then carried to the back of a patrol vehicle in which he was rushed to a hospital, according to the video.

District Attorney Larry Krasner said Irizarry’s family saw the footage and asked that it be released in its entirety.

“These body-worn camera videos will be introduced into evidence, most likely at both the preliminary hearing and a trial,” Krasner said after releasing the footage. “They are crucial evidence in the case and in many ways, they speak for themselves.”

Dial, who turned himself in Friday morning, also faces charges of voluntary manslaughter, aggravated assault, simple assault, reckless endangering of another person, and official oppression. Dial’s bail was set at $500,000 at arraignment, according to the district attorney’s office. He did not enter a plea. He later posted bail and a preliminary hearing was set for September 26, according to court documents.

“We intend to vigorously defend him against the charges,” defense attorney Fortunato Perri Jr. said in a statement. “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.”

Brian McMonagle, another attorney representing Dial, said Friday his client believed Irizarry was pointing a gun at him.

“Video evidence in this case which we’ve uncovered demonstrates completely that officer Dial got out of his car, ordered (Irizarry) to show his hands, and then heard ‘gun,’” McMonagle said.

Krasner would not comment on whether an officer is heard in the audio saying Irizarry had a gun.

Just before he was shot, Irizarry was “observed holding a small, open folding knife against his thigh. He then rolled up the driver’s side window,” prosecutors said in a news release.

Dial’s gunshots shattered the driver’s side glass and repeatedly struck Irizarry, prosecutors said.

“I don’t think we’re saying anything more than the obvious when we say that firing six consecutive (shots) at close range at a vital part of the body of a person under the law is strongly supportive, together with other evidence, of all of these charges,” Krasner said.

Shaka Johnson, an attorney representing Irizarry’s family, said the video proved deadly force was not necessary.

“This was, quite frankly, a murder, is what we saw take place,” Johnson told CNN’s Abby Phillip on Friday.

Zoraida Garcia, Irizarry’s aunt, told CNN that he wasn’t a threat to officers.

“I feel very hurt but at the same time, I just wanted the world to see what this officer did to my nephew,” Garcia said of the police bodycam footage released Friday. “My family is very frustrated.”

Garcia also posted about the shooting on social media, saying Dial “killed a innocent young man.”

“We love you Eddie and we will continue to fight to show the world how innocent you was,” she continued.

Police union expresses ‘full support’ for officer

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, in a statement, asked that “the public remain peaceful in demonstrations and calls for accountability” and urged “patience as a full and thorough investigation is being conducted.”

“My heart is with the loved ones of Eddie Irizarry as they continue to grieve the loss of his life,” he said. “I recognize that no action that we take as a City can bring him back, but I am confident that the District Attorney’s Office is working toward justice for Mr. Irizarry and his family.”

Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said the police department “remains committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of the communities we serve, as well as upholding the integrity of the administrative investigation in a fair, equitable, and transparent manner.”

The Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police, which represents rank and file officers, in a statement expressed its “full support” for Dial.

“We ask the public to reserve (judgment) until all the evidence is presented during trial,” Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5 President John McNesby said.

Dial, 27, a five-year veteran of the department, was placed on restricted leave following the August 14 shooting and Outlaw said she intended to fire him at the end of a 30-day suspension period.

The shooting has been the subject of increased scrutiny since Outlaw announced two days after the deadly encounter that the initial police narrative was wrong.

Shortly after the shooting, a police corporal told reporters that officers gave commands for Irizarry to drop a weapon while he was outside of his vehicle.

Irizarry “lunged at the officers; one of the officers discharged his weapon multiple times,” the corporal initially said of the encounter.

But Outlaw later announced Irizarry was inside the vehicle when he was shot.

“The body-worn camera footage made it very clear what we initially reported was not actually what happened,” Outlaw said during a news conference last month.

On Friday, Krasner said: “We try our very best to be fair and to be even handed but we will not cover for power. We will not cover up for insiderism. And we will not cover up for politics.”

Surveillance video shows the shooting

In an updated news release on the shooting last month, police said the incident began around noon, when two officers saw a man driving erratically and going the wrong way down a one-way street.

When the man pulled into a parking spot, two officers approached the vehicle, Outlaw said.

One officer warned the other the man had a weapon, then the other officer shot multiple times into the car, according to the release.

Surveillance video from a nearby restaurant and released by an attorney for Irizarry’s family gave a bird’s-eye view of the encounter.

In the video – which is separate from the footage released Friday – Irizarry is seen pulling into a parking spot on a narrow residential street and running over orange cones in the process. A police vehicle pulls up to the passenger side of his car a few seconds later.

An officer exits the passenger side of the patrol vehicle and pulls out a firearm from his belt as he crosses the front of the patrol vehicle and heads toward Irizarry’s car yelling what sounds like, “Show us your hands!” and then “Show me your hands” two times, the video shows.

Approximately five seconds elapse between the time that the officer gets out of his patrol car, runs over to the driver’s side of Irizarry’s vehicle, and fires his gun what appears to be six times with at least one shot striking Irizarry’s front windshield. While firing his weapon, the officer is heard shouting what sounds like, “Drop the knife!”

As the officer runs over toward Irizarry, who’s seated in the driver’s seat, Irizarry is seen pulling up the driver’s side window before the officer shoots inside his vehicle.

The video shows the officer appearing to recoil and run back toward his patrol car as he’s shooting at Irizarry.

Both officers then appear to try to get into Irizarry’s vehicle but the doors are locked. The officers are then able to open Irizarry’s car and pull him out of the vehicle and place him into the patrol car.

No gun seen in body cam, analysis shows

Despite claims by Dial’s attorney that his client heard someone saying “gun,” the publicly released police body camera videos of the shooting do not appear to show Irizarry with a gun, according to CNN’s review of the two videos released by the Philadelphia District Attorney on Friday.

One of the videos was taken from the unedited body camera footage of Dial, according to the district attorney. The other video is taken from the perspective of the second officer on scene who has not been publicly named or charged.

The word “gun” is not readily audible in either of the body camera videos provided by the district attorney, according to CNN’s review. The only guns visible in the videos are those held by police officers.

Prosecutors said Irizarry was holding a “small, open folding knife” against his thigh, however, a knife is not clearly visible in the body camera video reviewed by CNN. The windows of Irizarry’s car are closed during the encounter. At one point, Irizarry is seen with something in his hand, but it’s not clear in the video what he is holding.

Both body camera videos show the two officers put Irizarry into the back seat of their patrol car after he is shot. Irizarry is not holding anything in his hands then.

Dial takes Irizarry to the hospital in the patrol car, while the other officer remains with Irizarry’s car at the scene.

Moments later, more police arrive and begin to secure the scene.

The officer, who has not been publicly named or charged, tells other police on scene, “As I pull up he starts freaking out, we get out, Mark comes on the driver’s side and I’m over here, I try to get in the door open, but I can’t, he pulls out a knife, I’m talking like – Mark, Mark, he’s got a knife, he’s got a knife. And I guess he like – I couldn’t really see – cause I looked up at Mark … I saw his body come up like this and then Mark fired.”

™ & © 2023 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

CNN’s Nicki Brown, Artemis Moshtaghian, Jessica Xing, Omar Jimenez and Rob Frehse contributed to this report.

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