Officer charged with off-duty shooting of teen arraigned
WARWICK, R.I. (AP) — A Rhode Island police officer, who was off duty and out of uniform when authorities say he followed a car off a highway and shot the 18-year-old driver in the arm, was released on $25,000 bail after his first court appearance in the case Friday.
Pawtucket Officer Daniel Dolan, 38, pleaded not guilty to three counts of assault and one count of discharge of a firearm when committing a crime of violence in connection with the encounter last month in West Greenwich.
He was also ordered to have no contact with the driver and two other teenagers who were in the car and to surrender his firearms.
According to an investigation, Dolan was returning from a detail assignment on the evening of June 23 when he encountered an Audi sedan on Interstate 95 in West Greenwich.
The vehicles exited the highway and Dolan tried to detain the driver of the Audi outside a pizza shop. When the operator of the Audi tried to drive away, Dolan fired one round from his service weapon, striking the driver in the arm.
Surveillance video from the pizza shop shows an unmarked white pickup truck with a black bed pull alongside the Audi. A man in civilian clothes gets out of the truck and holds up a badge and the Audi reverses away.
The shooting occurred off camera. No one else was injured.
The driver was identified by his attorney as Dominic Vincent, 18, of West Greenwich. The other two people in the car were his 18-year-old friend and the friend’s 17-year-old brother. The teens were picking up a pizza and then heading to Vincent’s house to watch an NBA game, their attorney said.
Vincent told police he didn’t think Dolan was a real police officer based on his clothing and vehicle.
“We are pleased to see the attorney general has begun this process, and we’re confident in the abilities and efforts of the attorney general’s office to see that this really sad, sad affair is brought to justice,” the teenagers’ lawyer, James Howe, said outside court.
The teens, one with his arm in a sling, attended the arraignment.
Dolan told investigators the Audi was traveling more than 100 mph and he followed it because he thought it may be fleeing the scene of a crime. He told investigators he opened fire because he thought the car would strike him.
“Officer Dolan has spent the better part of the last 17 years serving and protecting, as a United States Marine and as a police officer for the city of Pawtucket, and that’s exactly what he was doing that evening,” Dolan’s lawyer, Michael Colucci, said outside court.
Investigators also found that Dolan had taken a few sips of beer in his truck, but his blood alcohol measured 0.0.
Dolan, a resource officer at a Pawtucket middle school, has been placed on unpaid leave by the city.
This story has been corrected to reflect that Dolan pleaded not guilty to the charges.