Judge reinstates murder charge against ex-Philadelphia police officer for deadly traffic stop

(Reuters) - A Philadelphia appeals court judge reinstated charges of murder and other crimes against former police officer Mark Dial on Wednesday for fatally shooting a man as he sat in his car in August.

Last month, Philadelphia's district attorney had charged Dial with murder and a host of other offenses for shooting Eddie Irizarry, 27, several times after Dial and another officer had slowly followed him through city streets. Police said Irizarry had been driving erratically.

A few weeks later, Judge Wendy Pew of the Philadelphia Municipal Court dismissed the charges, citing a lack of evidence and agreeing with Dial's self-defense argument.

Prosecutors appealed to the Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas, where Judge Lillian Ransom agreed at a hearing on Wednesday to reinstate the charges and ordered Dial to be taken into custody without bail, according to CBS News and other outlets.

The district attorney's office declined to comment. A defense lawyer for Dial did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Video from officers' body-worn cameras showed Dial leaving his car yelling with his gun drawn and within about 10 seconds shooting Irizarry several times as Irizarry sat in his car with the doors and windows closed. Police had falsely said Irizarry had left his car and lunged at officers before the department admitted that was not the case.

His death was ruled a homicide from gunshot wounds.

Dial was suspended with the intention to terminate his employment by the Philadelphia Police Department. He has been charged with murder, voluntary manslaughter, aggravated assault, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person, and official oppression.

Dial, through his lawyers, has said he was justified in firing his gun at Irizarry because he feared for his own life. His lawyers have argued that a knife in Irizarry's car had a handle that resembled that of a gun.

The victim's family say Irizarry, who grew up in Puerto Rico, used the knife in his job as an auto mechanic, CNN reported.

(Reporting by Jonathan Allen; Editing by Bill Berkrot)