(NationRise.com) – A judge reinstated on October 25 a murder charge against a former police officer who killed a driver after shooting him six times. Authorities initially described the incident as a confrontation, after the driver lunged at former officer Mark Dial with a knife outside his vehicle.
Common Pleas Court Judge Lilian Ransom said that every fact of the case needed to be established at trial. Dial was charged with manslaughter, official oppression, murder, and four other counts in the August 14 shooting death of Eddie Irizarry. The former officer killed the 27-year-old man during a traffic stop.
Defense lawyers claimed that Dial could have felt threatened because he thought the driver had a gun, and noted that a municipal court judge dismissed the case in September for lack of evidence. However, prosecutors appealed and asked for the charges against the former officer to be reinstated.
The family of the victim said that Dial must spend the rest of his life in prison. The former police officer bowed his head after Ransom issued her ruling, and was immediately taken into custody without bail. His lawyer, Brian McMonagle, told reporters outside court that he feels “extremely disappointed” with the judge’s decision and said he and his client “can’t wait” to go to trial. McMonagle added that Dial is innocent and said that the facts “are undeniable.”
When describing the incident, the former officer and his partner told authorities they followed Irizarry’s vehicle after he sped past them in a bike lane and made a sharp turn, showing an erratic driving behavior. They also said Irizarry proceeded in the wrong direction on a residential street before parking.
Police body camera video showed Dial shooting six rounds against Irizarry, a couple of seconds after getting out of his police vehicle and walking over to Irizarry’s car. The video also showed the 27-year-old man holding a knife on his right leg.
Dial, who only had five years on the force, was formally suspended after authorities said he didn’t want to cooperate with police investigators. He was fired on September 18.
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