Officer’s bail revoked in shooting death of driver after prosecutors lodge constitutional challenge
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A Philadelphia police officer charged in the shooting death of a driver last month is back in custody following the revocation of his bail after prosecutors challenged the constitutionality of his release.
Officer Mark Dial was taken into custody in the courtroom Tuesday following the ruling. He had surrendered Sept. 8 and posted 10 percent of $500,000 bail. But prosecutors said the Pennsylvania Constitution typically prohibits bail for offenses carrying a life term or if there is evidence the defendant poses a threat to the community.
Dial is charged with murder, voluntary manslaughter, official oppression and four other counts. The 27-year-old officer has served on the force for five years and was suspended with intent to dismiss after officials said he refused to cooperate in the investigation. Defense attorneys contend that the shooting was justified, saying Dial thought 27-year-old Eddie Irizarry had a gun.
Authorities have said Dial shot Irizarry after officers spotted his car being driven erratically around noon Aug. 14 and followed it for several blocks. Officers approached as the driver turned the wrong way down a one-way street and stopped.
Police bodycam footage shows Dial firing at close range through the rolled-up driver’s side window about seven seconds after getting out of a police SUV and striding over to the sedan. He fired a total of six rounds. The bodycam footage shows Irizarry holding a knife in his right hand, by his right leg, before he was shot.
The department backtracked after initially claiming the officers made a traffic stop and shot a person outside the vehicle after he “lunged at” police with a knife. Outgoing Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said a review of the officers’ body-worn cameras “made it very clear that what we initially reported was not actually what happened.”
Defense attorney Brian McMonagle earlier called the decision to charge Dial with murder “appalling,” saying Irizarry was ordered to show his hands and “instead produced a weapon and pointed it at an armed police officer.”
McMonagle argued Tuesday that the initial police affidavit of probable cause for Dial’s arrest recommended a lead offense of voluntary manslaughter, not murder. He also cited a 2021 state Supreme Court case establishing limited circumstances under which murder defendants could argue for bail, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
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