WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — The trial of a Pawtucket police officer accused of shooting a teenager while off duty started Wednesday.
Daniel Dolan, 38, allegedly followed 18-year-old Dominic Vincent’s car into the parking lot of a West Greenwich pizza place in June 2021. Dolan, who claims he was attempting to stop Vincent after seeing him speeding, then shot the teen in the arm as he tried to drive off.
Dolan was charged with three counts of assault and one count of discharging a firearm in a crime of violence, after the R.I. Attorney General’s Office said the shooting was not justified.
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In opening statements, Dolan’s defense team said he believed Vincent was going to run him over.
“I will prove to you that he shot only in self-defense, only as a last resort,” the defense said.
The defense also said Dolan was taking that exit in West Greenwich on his way home and felt obligated to check on Vincent’s car. According to a state police report, Dolan said he believed Vincent was involved in a high-speed chase with police, despite none being around.
Vincent, and the two teenagers who were in the car with him, told police they did not realize Dolan was a police officer when he confronted them during the incident. Dolan was not in uniform at the time and was driving his personal vehicle, according to state police.
“He had no more authority in West Greenwich on Route 3 than you have or I have,” a prosecutor argued.
After concluding jury selection on Tuesday, prosecutors started the trial on Wednesday by putting Vincent on the stand.
“I remember screaming ‘I’m hit, I’m hit,'” Vincent said. “Pretty much instantly after. I knew what had happened instantly. I realized that. I had gotten shot.”
Vincent stated he remembered Dolan flashing his police badge, but did not think it was real- and considered himself to be in danger.
“He is now next to my car, and I never look at him directly, while he’s next to my car because I’m trying to just leave,” Vincent said.
Dolan has been suspended from the police department without pay. Vincent is slated to be back on the stand Thursday.