WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — The trial of a Pawtucket police officer accused of unjustifiably shooting a young driver while off duty continued with more witness testimony on Friday.
Officer Daniel Dolan is facing charges including felony assault for allegedly shooting 18-year-old Dominic Vincent in the arm while trying to get him to stop his car outside a pizza shop in West Greenwich.
Dolan maintains he was acting in the interest of public safety when he followed Vincent after seeing him speeding on the highway. His defense team claims he opened fire in self-defense, afraid that he was going to be run over by Vincent as he tried to drive off.
Vincent and two of his friends had pulled into the parking lot to pick up food and told police they didn’t know Vincent was an officer, since he was in plainclothes and driving his personal pickup truck.
Rhode Island State Police Sgt. Adam Kennett, who works in the crash reconstruction unit, was called to the stand Friday to explain how investigators determined how fast the two vehicles were traveling prior to the shooting. He said using RIDOT traffic cameras from I-95 and surveillance video from a nearby gas station, they were able to calculate that Vincent’s average speed was roughly 108 mph, while the average speed of Dolan’s truck was 77 mph.
Story continues below video.
Later in the day, the court heard from witnesses who happened to be driving by as the incident unfolded. James Linden, his daughter Ciara, and her girlfriend Katie Riedy each described what they saw that day.
Linden testified that he saw Dolan confront a car as it backed out of the parking lot, then put his hand on the hood and walked around to the side. It was then, according to Linden, that the officer pulled out his gun.
“I saw him reaching for his gun, and I knew that’s exactly what it was,” Linden recalled. “That’s when I said to the kids, ‘He’s got a gun,’ and then he pulled the gun out I heard ‘pop.'”
Linden said Vincent’s car was stopped at that point, and the driver didn’t take off until after he was shot. Once that happened, Linden drove off and called 911.
“I didn’t know if whoever had the gun would start shooting at the car, and pretty much right in the range of getting hit, so I pretty much took off pretty quick after that,” he explained.
Ciara Linden, who was in the front seat of her father’s car, also said Vincent’s car wasn’t moving as Dolan approached.
“I saw him put his hands on the hood of the car,” she recalled. “The car had stopped when he put his hands on the front of the car.”
The final witness, Katie Riedy, said she initially thought Dolan might get hit as he ran toward the front of Vincent’s car, but not once he moved to the side and took aim at the driver.
“At that point he was already to the side, he had already run in front of the car and had passed the line of what would have been danger if the car had been moving,” she said.
Court adjourned for the week following Riedy’s testimony.
The trial is scheduled to resume at 9:30 a.m. Monday.
12 News will be there and bring you updates on air and online.