By: Isabella Langner
Public Relations Manager
Philadelphia’s district attorney charged a Philadelphia police officer with murder after fatally shooting 27-year-old Eddie Irizarry August 14. District attorney Larry Krasnery announced that along with first-degree murder, prosecutors had charged the officer with aggravated assault, simple assault, reckless endangerment of another person, possession of an instrument of crime, voluntary manslaughter, and official oppression in the shooting death of Irizarry. Judge Christian DiCicco of the Philadelphia municipal court set the officer’s bail at 500,000 dollars.
Family members and friends described Eddie Irizarry as quiet but passionate about building motorcycles. He moved from Puerto Rico to Philadelphia seven years ago and was said to have difficulty speaking English.
The incident occurred around noon on Aug. 14. The two officers were sitting in a parked police car when they witnessed a Toyota Corolla they said was driving recklessly through the Kensington neighborhood. They followed the car as it turned the wrong way onto a one-way street and eventually parked on the side of the road. Footage then shows the officer getting out of the passenger side and running to Irizarry’s car. He asks Irizarry to show him his hands and tells him that he will shoot him if he doesn’t comply. The officer then fired five shots from point-blank range, and a sixth one as the officer ran past the front of the car.
Officers claimed the incident occured differently than recently shown in unedited body camera footage. Krasner said that the videos “will be introduced into evidence, most likely at both the preliminary hearing and at trial. They are crucial evidence in the case and, in many ways, they speak for themselves.”
Initially, the officers described the shooting as a car chase ending in Irizarry lunging at them with a knife. Two days later, police revealed body camera footage that showed the man was still in his car when the officer shot him. Irizarry’s family requested the video’s release, as it revealed he was shot moments after the officer exited his car. Krasner said in a news release that Irizarry had a small folding knife against his thigh. Authorities previously claimed that two knives were seen in the car: a kitchen knife and a folding knife. Shaka Johnson, an attorney for Irizarry’s family, claimed one of the knives was given to Irizarry by his father because he worked as a mechanic. Police also said Irizarry had exited the car, but bodycam footage contradicted that statement.
(Sources: NY Times, ABC News)