A police officer who shot and killed a driver who was in his car in north Philadelphia last week is being suspended and will be fired, according to Philadelphia’s police commissioner.
Officer Mark Dial’s refusal to cooperate with the inquiry into the shooting death of 27-year-old Eddie Irizarry on August 14 will result in his suspension with the intention of dismissal, according to Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw, who made the announcement on Wednesday.
For “failure to cooperate in any departmental investigation,” she highlighted administrative insubordination infractions, a failure to immediately obey proper commands from a higher officer, and a conduct unbecoming violation. According to Outlaw, there is still ongoing inquiry into the shooting.
Just before 12:30 p.m., police noticed a car being driven erratically, and Dial shot Irizarry as he sat in it. August 14 and followed it for a number of blocks until coming up behind the vehicle as it made a wrong turn down a one-way street and came to a stop, according to the police. Five years have passed since Dial joined the force.
According to police, Dial alerted the other officer who was approaching the driver’s side that the driver had a weapon as he approached the passenger side. Police modified their initial description of the events in a statement the night after the killing, claiming that “as the male turned” towards that officer, the officer fired several times into the vehicle.
Police originally said the officers made a traffic stop and shot a person outside the vehicle after he “lunged at” police with a knife. Outlaw said a review of the officers’ body-worn cameras “made it very clear that what we initially reported was not actually what happened.”
Police said they are attempting to identify the origin of the initial inaccurate version, which an official had earlier claimed was called into police radio and appeared to have come from “an internal source.” According to Outlaw, disciplinary action may be taken as a result of the investigation.
Police stated two knives “were observed inside the vehicle” in their amended report, but they would not specify whether the driver was in possession of a weapon or had been told to put it down. According to a detective, one looked like a “kitchen-style knife” and the other was a “serrated folding knife.”
Attorney Fortunato Perri Jr., who represents the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5, said Dial “has the full support of the Fraternal Order of Police as we continue to review the facts and circumstances surrounding this tragic incident,” The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
According to the newspaper, the family’s lawyer, Shaka Johnson, branded the initial account “an intentional misleading of the public” and declared his plan to sue the police and the city for wrongful death.
The district attorney is in charge of making the body-worn camera footage of the two cops public since it is deemed evidence in that office’s inquiry, according to the police. While the police department’s investigation focuses on whether the officers followed departmental norms and procedures, that investigation seeks to ascertain if the officers adhered to the law.
On Tuesday evening, the Philadelphia Citizens Police Oversight Commission recommended that the officer be fired, stating that the organisation “was created for moments such as this.”
“It is our responsibility to hold our police department accountable and also amplify the voices of the community,” the commission said in a statement.
Mayor Jim Kenney referred to the incident as “a tragedy” and expressed that his “heart breaks for the family and for the loss of Mr. Irizarry,” but he refrained from making any additional comments due to the ongoing inquiry.