A Philadelphia judge on Tuesday revoked bail for a police officer accused of murder.
Officer Mark Dial has been charged with first-degree murder over the killing of Eddie Irizarry.
Dial killed Irizarry during a traffic stop, shooting him within seconds of exiting his cruiser, video shows.
PHILADELPHIA — A municipal judge on Tuesday ordered a cop facing a first-degree murder charge over a traffic-stop killing to be immediately jailed pending trial, reversing an earlier, unusual decision that allowed officer Mark Dial to remain free on bail.
Dial was charged on September 8 with first-degree murder in the killing of 27-year-old Eddie Irizarry after pulling him over in the Kensington neighborhood in August.
Police initially claimed that Irizarry had "lunged" at officers with a knife, but bodycam footage shows that he never left his vehicle — and that Dial shot him just seconds after exiting his own police cruiser, gun drawn. Irizarry had been driving the wrong direction down a one-way street.
"The bail in this matter is revoked," Judge Lillian Ransom told a packed courtroom on Tuesday, causing some of Dial's supporters to begin crying; several placed their faces in their hands.
Brian McMonagle, an attorney for the officer, had argued at the hearing that prosecutors had failed to show his client was either a danger to the public or proved that he was likely to be convicted of first-degree murder.
But the office of District Attorney Larry Krasner argued that they are not required to do that at this stage — and that the Pennsylvania constitution requires pre-trial detention of people charged with crimes that carry a potential life sentence.
After Dial turned himself in earlier this month, the police union posted $50,000 to secure his release, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported, over prosecutors' objections. An attorney for Dial had argued that he should be eligible for bail, the outlet noted, because an affidavit of probable cause for his arrest had listed the lead offense as voluntary manslaughter, a charge that carries a sentence of up to 20 years behind bars.
But Judge Ransom sided with the state on Tuesday, ordering Dial to be immediately detained at the conclusion of hearing. He will be held, for now, at a jail in Philadelphia, she said.
The case against Dial has attracted national attention in part due to how rarely police officers face murder charges related to their actions on the job. Krasner, a self-styled progressive prosecutor, has filed charges against a number of officers for alleged on-duty wrongdoing since first being elected in 2017.
In this case, prosecutors said they were compelled to file a murder charge after video footage contradicted police claims. Released to the public last week, the video shows Dial — not Irizarry — getting out of his car.
"I will fucking shoot you," Dial says just after exiting his vehicle and before firing a half-dozen shots.
"The video speaks for itself," Assistant District Attorney Lyandra Retacco said at Tuesday's hearing, rejecting defense arguments that prosecutors needed more evidence to show Dial ought to be denied bail. Retacco said that, for prosecutors, a key factor in the charging decision was Dial's apparent eagerness to use deadly force.
"The one that moves [us] most is getting out of your car with your gun already drawn before anyone says anything," she said.
Irizarry had moved to Philadelphia from Puerto Rico, according to his family, and was not proficient in English. An attorney for the family has said that he did have a knife on him, which he used for work, but did not pose a threat to police.
After Dial was charged earlier this month, the Fraternal Order of Police said in a statement that it would be offering its "full support" to Dial, who was suspended from the police force after Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said he refused to cooperate with an internal investigation ("The body-worn camera footage made it very clear that what we initially reported was not actually what happened," she said at a press conference last month).
A preliminary hearing, where prosecutors will formally outline their case against Dial, is scheduled for September 26.
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