A judge dismissed all charges against former Philadelphia police officer Mark Dial on Tuesday in the death of Eddie Irizarry, who was shot and killed while sitting in his car last month. Photo courtesy of Philadelphia District Attorney's Office
Sept. 26 (UPI) -- A judge dismissed all charges against former Philadelphia police officer Mark Dial on Tuesday in the death of Eddie Irizarry, who was shot and killed while sitting in his car last month, as city leaders urged residents to "remain calm."
Municipal Court Judge Wendy Pew dismissed the case Tuesday during a preliminary hearing. Pew cited a lack of evidence and agreed with Dial's defense attorneys that the former officer was justified when he shot Irizarry on Aug. 14, saying he and his partner believed their lives were in danger, according to court records.
The Philadelphia District Attorney's Office said it "disagrees" with the judge's decision and has refiled the criminal complaint against Dial.
"In keeping with our oath to seek justice, we will move to have all criminal charges, including murder, reinstated against this defendant," the office said in a statement Tuesday. A hearing on the motion is scheduled for Oct. 25.
Dial's attorneys have maintained that the officer was acting in self-defense.
"We have said from the very beginning, this is a tragedy and not a crime," attorney Brian McMonagle told reporters Tuesday outside the courthouse.
Dial, 27, was charged earlier this month with murder, voluntary manslaughter, aggravated assault, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person, official oppression and possession of an instrument of crime.
According to court documents, Dial and his partner followed Irizarry, 27, who was allegedly driving his Toyota Corolla erratically in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia. After what police called a "car chase," Irizarry parked on East Willard Street.
Prosecutors released camera footage that shows Dial and his partner approaching the car with their weapons drawn, as Irizarry rolls up the driver's side window.
"And when police officers ordered him to show his hands, he instead produced a weapon and pointed it at an armed police officer," McMonagle told reporters earlier this month.
Dial shouts "I will [expletive] shoot you," before firing off six rounds through the car door.
Camera footage then shows Dial and his partner dragging Irizarry from his car and putting him into their police car, before driving to a nearby hospital. Irizarry was declared dead later that day.
Following Tuesday's decision, Philadelphia Sheriff Rochelle Bilal and state Sen. Sharif Street urged the community to "remain calm."
"We do not need any destruction in our city," Bilal said.
"We need people to remain calm because the district attorney is still committed to making sure that this process continues," Street added, "and there's justice and that this act is not left unchecked."