WEST GREENWICH, R.I. (WPRI) — A lawyer representing three teenagers staunchly denies they did anything to deserve being “terrorized” by an off-duty Pawtucket police officer, which included one of them getting shot in the arm.
“They are boys, and the trauma that they have sustained is unspeakable,” attorney James Howe said during a news conference Monday afternoon.
Howe was flanked by the shooting victim, 18-year-old Dominic Vincent, whose left arm was in a cast, and brothers Vincent and Joseph Greco, ages 18 and 17 respectively, who were with Vincent at the time of the June 23 incident.
According to Howe, Vincent’s humerus was shattered as a result of the shooting and he is “continuing with his medical care.”
Vincent was reportedly shot by Officer Daniel Dolan outside a pizza shop on Nooseneck Hill Road in West Greenwich. Surveillance footage from the business shows a black sedan pull into the parking lot and a white pickup truck quickly pull up beside it before the driver of the truck gets out and approaches the sedan as he pulls an item from his waistband.
The driver immediately backs up, and the car and Dolan then leave the frame, which is when investigators believe the gunshot was fired.
Howe said Vincent had recently picked up the Greco brothers and they were stopping to get a pizza before heading back to Vincent’s house.
The Rhode Island attorney general’s office said Dolan was on his way home from a police detail at the time and was attempting to detain the driver of the sedan, the specific reason for which remains unclear.
West Greenwich Police Chief Richard Ramsay previously indicated that something between the two vehicles may have happened on I-95, but Howe insisted there was “no previous engagement prior to that point.”
“What you see on the video is when they first came in contact with Mr. Dolan,” he said. “These boys did not see that white truck, they had no idea who Mr. Dolan was beforehand, and they only learned that he was a police officer after this incident.”
Howe said Dolan pulled out his badge and had his gun at his hip, but Vincent backed out because he was frightened and didn’t know who Dolan was.
As his client put the car into drive to try to leave, Dolan was yelling at them but the vehicle’s windows were up, and it was then, according to Howe, that Dolan went over to the driver’s side and fired the shot.
Vincent drove off but pulled over a short distance away, and Howe said Dolan followed and “took over the scene in a very intimidating fashion.” He began yelling at the boys, according to Howe, and never offered first aid to Vincent.
Video Now: Howe and his clients hold news conference (story continues below)
Dolan was placed on administrative leave pending the results of the investigation, which is now being conducted by the AG’s office, along with R.I. State Police and West Greenwich Police.
Howe said he and his clients have been in touch with investigators, but earlier on Monday, he sent out a news release calling on them to make all of the investigatory materials public, claiming there’s evidence of at least two incidents in Pawtucket where Dolan exhibited “brutal and intimidating conduct” against people he had taken into custody.
Howe said these incidents raise questions about Dolan’s competence as a police officer, further alleging that Pawtucket officials were made aware of them prior to last week’s shooting.
Both the AG’s office and Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien’s office released statements to 12 News saying they’re unable to release any materials or comment on the case until the investigation is complete.
“The Investigative Team is making substantial progress. As soon as we are in a position to share additional information with the public, we will do so,” the AG’s office said, adding that they’ve been in contact with Howe and his clients.
A spokesperson for Grebien’s office said the mayor and acting Public Safety Director Tina Goncalves are “committed to a transparent process” but asked that the public be patient as the incident is investigated.
“The City of Pawtucket is sensitive to all incidents of alleged misconduct, especially those involving Public Safety employees,” the statement read.
“The Attorney General and State Police have statewide policies and protocols in place that municipalities must follow in these circumstances,” the statement continued. “We are confident that these entities will thoroughly and objectively investigate all factors to determine the proper course of action to address Patrol Officer Dolan’s conduct.”
The shooting remains under investigation. Anyone with information is asked to call R.I. State Police at (401) 444-1000 or West Greenwich Police at (401) 397-7171.