As drizzle fell Tuesday evening, around 100 supporters of Eddie Irizarry gathered outside City Hall to protest a Philadelphia judge’s earlier decision to dismiss all charges — including murder — against former city Police Officer Mark Dial, who shot and killed Irizarry during a traffic stop in Kensington last month. The protesters chanted “no good cops in a racist system” as the crowd grew. A short time later, they marched around Center City to decry Municipal Court Judge Wendy L. Pew’s decision. “Indict, convict, send those killer cops to jail. The whole damn system is guilty as hell,” the marchers proclaimed, reports the Philadelphia Inqurer. In front of the Philadelphia criminal court, Maria Irizarry, Irizarry’s sister, thanked all those who came to support her brother and her family, vowing to continue the fight for justice and saying it took the judge a “ second” to agree with Dial’s lawyers.
Irizarry’s father was angry when the judge issued the ruling, he said. ”It was a brutality. If it were one of her kids, what do you think she would’ve done?” he said in Spanish. The protest and march was organized by the Philadelphia branch of Party for Socialism and Liberation. Talia Giles, with the Party for Socialism and Liberation, told the crowd Irizarry’s death was not an isolated incident. ”The entire system is guilty as hell,” she said. “It’s not just a few bad apples.” After a preliminary hearing Tuesday morning, Pew ruled that prosecutors had not presented enough evidence to show that Dial fatally shooting Irizarry while on-duty last month was a crime. She agreed with Dial’s lawyers that he was justified in shooting Irizarry, and that he and his partner were reacting to a situation in which they believed Irizarry was a potential threat to them. On Aug. 14, Dial, 27, a five-year veteran of the force, shot and killed Irizarry, 27, as Irizarry sat in his car during a traffic stop in Kensington. Police initially said Irizarry had gotten out of the car and lunged at Dial with a knife, leading the officer to shoot him. But surveillance and body-worn camera footage showed that the initial account was not accurate. Irizarry was sitting in his car with the windows rolled up and a knife in his hand when Dial opened fire within just seconds of getting out of his police vehicle.