PAWTUCKET, R.I. (WPRI) — A Pawtucket police officer who shot an 18-year-old man in the arm last week while off-duty is now facing charges including felony assault.
R.I. Attorney General Peter Neronha’s office charged Officer Daniel Dolan, 38, with three counts of assault and one count of discharging a firearm in a crime of violence, also a felony. He is scheduled to be arraigned July 16.
State police say Dolan, who was wearing street clothes and in his personal truck, shot Dominic Vincent in the arm outside a pizza shop after attempting to stop Vincent’s car.
According to a state police report filed Thursday in Kent County Superior Court, Dolan told detectives he got off work around 7:40 p.m. Wednesday and drove to a liquor store, where he purchased a six-pack of beer, opened one and “took a sip from the bottle” before continuing to drive home on I-95 South.
Dolan told detectives he saw a black Audi — driven by Vincent — speeding down the highway, and thought he might be in a high-speed pursuit with police, though he didn’t see any officers.
Dolan followed Vincent off the highway and into the parking lot of Wicked Good Pizza in West Greenwich, where Vincent and two friends told police they were planning to get pizza for a sleepover party.
Police say Dolan got out of his truck and attempted to stop the Audi, holding up his police badge and his palm in an effort to tell the car to stop. In his interview with detectives, Dolan said he thought the car could be fleeing the scene of a crime.
When Vincent backed up and would not stop for him, Dolan claimed he stepped in front of the car. Police say he then fired his department-issued weapon into the car, striking Vincent in the upper arm.
Vincent later told police he didn’t think Dolan was a real police officer due to his vehicle and clothing.
Neronha said the investigation determined the shooting was not justified.
Dolan passed a field sobriety test after the shooting and blew a .000 blood alcohol content, according to the police report.
He claimed that he fired the shot because he thought the Audi was about to run him over.
Dominic Vincent and two other teens who were in the car — brothers Joseph and Vincent Greco — were also interviewed by detectives. All three said they did not realize Dolan was a cop when he attempted to stop them.
“I heard my brother say, ‘Dominic, drive, we’re gonna die,'” Vincent Greco recalled.
Dominic Vincent said Dolan told him, “you’re about to get shot,” right before firing his weapon.
Dominic Vincent then floored the gas pedal and drove off, but pulled over a short time later. Dolan followed and questioned Vincent about what he had been doing while also wrapping a sweatshirt around his arm.
“I’m like … why does it matter what I’m doing, like, you … you just shot me,” Vincent told police, according to a transcript of his interview with detectives. “[Dolan] is just babbling on about how he wanted to get home to his kids and I tried to run him over, which as I’ve stated multiple times, you can’t run someone over when they’re right next to you.”
Dolan works as a school resource officer at Slater Middle School in Pawtucket. A spokesperson said the city is “seeking” to suspend Dolan without pay, and is currently assessing what actions can be taken under the Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights (LEOBOR), the state’s police discipline law.
LEOBOR says officers charged with felonies can be suspended without pay at the discretion of the police chief.
Dolan’s attorney, Michael J. Colucci, released a statement to 12 News earlier this week saying the accounts of the incident provided by the victims and their attorney are “highly disputed” by him and his client.
“In various circumstances, police officers, even when off-duty, are expected to take action if they can, when they see something afoot,” Colucci added.