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Judge drops murder charge against Philadelphia police officer who shot driver during traffic stop

Eddie Irizarry was fatally shot by the officer after he was pulled over on Aug. 14, body camera video showed.
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A judge on Tuesday dismissed all charges, including murder, against the Philadelphia police officer who had been accused of wrongfully killing a motorist last month.

Mark Dial pulled over Eddie Irizarry, 27, on Aug. 14 before he shot him through the rolled-up driver's side window, body camera video has shown.

The video was played in court Tuesday, but Philadelphia Municipal Judge Wendy Pew ruled there was not enough evidence to go to trial, bringing an emotional reaction from Irizarry's loved ones in court.

The defense argued that Dial, 27, could be seen backing away from the vehicle as he opened fire, believing Irizarry had a gun. The video showed that Irizarry had been holding a knife in his right hand.

Dial had been charged with murder, voluntary manslaughter, official oppression and four other counts before Pew dismissed all counts.

"My thoughts are with Eddie Irizarry’s family and loved ones today as they continue to seek justice and answers around his death," Mayor Jim Kenney said in a statement, urging the district attorney's office to "do everything in its power to pursue justice and accountability."

Prosecutors vowed to appeal Pew's ruling and have charges brought against Dial again.

“The District Attorney’s Office disagrees with the decision by Municipal Court Judge Wendy L. Pew to dismiss all criminal charges against defendant Mark Dial for the killing of Eddie Irizarry on August 14, 2023," the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office said in a statement.

Philadelphia police officer Mark Dial arrives at the Juanita Kidd Stout Center for Criminal Justice in Philadelphia on Sept. 19, 2023.
Philadelphia Police Officer Mark Dial arrives at the Juanita Kidd Stout Center for Criminal Justice in Philadelphia on Sept. 19.Alejandro A. Alvarez / The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP

"Special Investigations Unit prosecutors will be filing an appeal of this decision to the Court of Common Pleas by the end of today. In keeping with our oath to seek justice, we will move to have all criminal charges, including murder, reinstated against this defendant.”

A notice of refiling of criminal charges was filed in court later Tuesday, and a hearing was set for Oct. 25, according to court records.

Family members and supporters of Irizarry, some who wore T-shirts saying “Justice for Eddie Irizarry,” said they were stunned by Tuesday’s ruling.

“We are going to keep fighting,” Irizarry’s grandfather Nelson Garcia told NBC Philadelphia in Spanish outside court. “This is not OK.”

Dial has been in custody since Tuesday of last week after he initially posted bail and was released.

Prosecutors successfully argued for him to be placed back into custody, saying bail is typically not offered if charges could bring a life sentence or if the accused poses a threat to the community.

Pew ordered Tuesday that Dial be released.