Police Commissioner Outlaw moves to fire officer who killed driver

Irizarry police shooting
Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw speaks Wednesday, Aug. 23, at a news conference about the decision to fire Officer Mark Dial.
Jack Tomczuk

Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw moved Wednesday to fire the officer who fatally shot Eddie “Junito” Irizarry Jr. last week during a traffic stop in Kensington.

But Officer Mark Dial is not yet being disciplined for shooting Irizarry. Instead, Outlaw said, she decided to dismiss Dial because he has not cooperated with an internal investigation into the Aug. 14 killing.

Outlaw declined to elaborate on Dial’s uncooperative behavior. Officers involved in shootings are required to speak with police department internal affairs investigators within 72 hours of the incident, and Dial has not appeared for an interview.

The decision to fire Dial following a 30-day suspension — a stipulation of the police union’s contract — came a day after attorneys for Irizarry’s family released security camera footage showing that the officer opened fire seconds after getting out of his cruiser.

A spokesperson for Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5, which represents PPD officers, referred questions to Dial’s attorney, Fortunato Perri Jr., who did not respond to a request for comment.

Dial joined the force five years ago and was assigned to the 24th Police District. He had never previously discharged his firearm on the job, Sgt. Eric Gripp told reporters.

“Fired is not enough for my family,” Irizarry’s aunt, Zoraida Lopez, told Metro in a text message Wednesday afternoon. “He needs to be charged with murder.”

Eddie Irizarry’s aunt, Zoraida Garcia, speaks Tuesday, Aug. 22, at a news conference.Jack Tomczuk

The District Attorney’s Office is leading a separate probe to determine whether Dial should be charged criminally.

Outlaw said Dial violated PPD policies related to insubordination, failure to obey orders and refusal to cooperate in a departmental investigation.

“I want to make it clear that the investigation into the shooting itself continues,” Outlaw said, adding that Dial could face additional violations.

Dial’s partner, whose name has not been made public, did provide a statement to detectives, according to Gripp. He did not fire a shot and has been placed on administrative duty while the probe continues.

Others could possibly face disciplinary action for spreading false information on the day of the shooting. A PPD information officer told media outlets at the scene that Irizarry had exited his car and “lunged” at police.

More than 24 hours after the shooting, the department revised its narrative, saying that Irizarry remained in his vehicle, and residential security camera footage showed that his window was rolled up.

Outlaw said the PPD is still investigating the origin of the initial story and did not provide any additional information.

Mayor Jim Kenney, who appeared alongside Outlaw at a Wednesday afternoon news conference, referred to Irizarry’s killing as “a tragedy.”

“This is an ongoing investigation, and I’m not going to have any comment on what I think or feel about what I’ve seen or know until this investigation is concluded,” he said.

Police Officer Mark Dial is seen pointing his gun at Eddie Irizarry in this screenshot from a video released Tuesday by the family’s attorney.Provided

Dial and his partner, according to police, followed Irizarry in their marked patrol vehicle after they noticed him allegedly driving erratically just before 12:30 p.m. Aug. 14 near B and Westmoreland streets in Kensington.

Irizarry, who dealt with schizophrenia, pulled his car into a parking spot on 100 block of E. Willard Street, and the police cruiser stopped in the middle of the road.

The surveillance clip shared Tuesday shows the officers yelling “show me your hands,” “drop that f—ing knife,” and “I’ll f—ing shoot you” before Dial fires six shots – the last couple of which occurred while he was circling back toward his cruiser.

Police have said two knives – a pocket knife and a kitchen knife – were found inside Irizarry’s car.

In the aftermath of the shooting, police drag Irizarry out of his vehicle and toward the cruiser, according to the footage.

Body-worn camera video is available; however, it has not been released. Only the District Attorney’s Office has the authority to share the video.