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August 23, 2023

Philly police officer that shot Eddie Irizarry to be fired, officials say

Mark Dial violated PPD disciplinary code by failing to cooperate with internal investigations, Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said

Investigations Police Shootings
Eddie Irizarry Mark Dial Fired Thom Carroll/for PhillyVoice

Mark Dial, the Philadelphia police officer who fatally shot Eddie Irizarry, has been suspended and is pending dismissal because he failed to cooperate with internal police investigations, Commissioner Danielle Outlaw says.

Mark Dial, the Philadelphia police officer who fatally shot Eddie Irizarry, has been placed on administrative leave and will be fired after 30 days, police officials said Wednesday.

Dial shot Irizarry, 27, in his parked car on Aug. 14. He has been suspended with intent to dismiss due to several administrative violations, including "failure to cooperate in any departmental investigation," Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said. He also was cited for insubordination over his refusal to "promptly obey proper orders from a superior officer."

Dial, who has been with the police department for five years, shot Irizarry while he was sitting in his Toyota Corolla in Kensington, police said. Dial and his partner, who has not been identified, began following Irizarry over his erratic driving in the area of B Street and Erie Avenue around 12:30 p.m. 

When Irizarry turned the wrong way down East Willard Street and then pulled over, the officers parked next to him and exited their vehicle. According to police, Dial's partner then approached the car from the passenger side and shouted that Irizarry had a weapon. Dial, on the driver's side, opened fire.

But police initially claimed that the shooting had occurred outside the vehicle, after Irizarry "lunged" at the officers with a knife and refused to drop his weapon. Officials revised these claims last week after reviewing body-worn camera footage, sparking intense criticism. 

"We have nothing to hide here," Outlaw said Wednesday. "We make mistakes. Unfortunately the information that was released had pretty dire consequences."

On Tuesday, Irizarry's family released footage from a surveillance camera near the 100 block of East Willard Street, where the shooting occurred. The video shows two officers approaching Irizarry's parked car and shouting to see his hands; one can be heard screaming "I will f***ing shoot you!" moments before firing multiple rounds through the driver's side window and windshield.

"What about what you just saw could ever be confused as 'He got out of the car and lunged at police officers,'" Shaka Johnson, the lawyer representing Irizarry's family, said Tuesday. "Not a single thing. That was an out-and-out, flat-out lie."

The footage released by the family is the only publicly available video of the shooting. Outlaw said Wednesday that the PPD could not release Dial's body-worn footage without approval from the district attorney. 

According to his family, Irizarry left Puerto Rico for Philadelphia seven years ago and did not speak fluent English. He often carried a small pocket knife, they said, and had no previous run-ins with the law.

Irizarry also was schizophrenic, lending the case similarities to the fatal police shooting of Walter Wallace, Jr., a bipolar Black man. His 2020 death prompted several reforms, including a five-year plan to equip all police officers with Tasers. It is not clear why Dial did not use his.

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