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RI CRIME

Pawtucket councilwoman: Community members had complained about police officer who shot teenage driver

Patrolman Daniel Dolan Jr. has been on leave since June 23, when he accosted three teenage boys in their car and shot the 18-year-old driver

Attorney James P. Howe, center, addresses the media during a press conference for his clients. From left: Dominic Vincent, parents Lisa and Bob Vincent, Vincent Greco Jr.,  Vincent Greco Sr. and Joseph Greco in Howe's law office in North Kingstown, R.I. on June 28, 2021. Dominic Vincent, 18, was shot in the left arm by Pawtucket police officer Daniel Dolan Jr. last week while driving to pick up pizza in West Greenwich with friends Vincent Greco, 18 and Joseph Greco, 17.
Attorney James P. Howe, center, addresses the media during a press conference for his clients. From left: Dominic Vincent, parents Lisa and Bob Vincent, Vincent Greco Jr., Vincent Greco Sr. and Joseph Greco in Howe's law office in North Kingstown, R.I. on June 28, 2021. Dominic Vincent, 18, was shot in the left arm by Pawtucket police officer Daniel Dolan Jr. last week while driving to pick up pizza in West Greenwich with friends Vincent Greco, 18 and Joseph Greco, 17.Matthew Healey for The Boston Globe

SOUTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. — His mother rubbed his shoulder, standing with his father, as 18-year-old Dominic Vincent looked down, his left arm in a cast and sling where an off-duty Pawtucket officer’s bullet struck him last Wednesday night.

His two best friends, 18-year-old Vincent Greco and Greco’s brother Joseph, 17, sat a few feet away from him in their lawyer’s office Monday afternoon, with their father, silent and solemn-faced.

They were going to get pizza to watch the NBA playoffs last Wednesday night when a man in a white truck barreled into the parking lot next to their car and jumped out with a gun in his hand. He shot into the driver’s side window, hitting Dominic Vincent in the arm, shattering his humerus.

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James P. Howe, the lawyer for the three teens, said there were no weapons, and nothing resembling a weapon, in the teen’s car. The boys had never before met Officer Daniel Dolan Jr., who was confronting them nearly 30 miles outside of his jurisdiction.

They still don’t know why, he said.

Howe is calling on the attorney general’s office to release their investigation, saying that the officer was involved in other violent arrests.

Dolan, who has been on the force for six years, has been on leave and under investigation since Wednesday night, when he accosted three teenage boys in their car and shot the 18-year-old driver.

Howe, said they had no idea Dolan, who was in civilian clothes and following them in a white pickup truck, was a police officer or why he went after them.

Dolan shot Vincent in the left arm and “terrorized” him and his two friends after following their car off the highway and into a parking lot, Howe said in a statement Monday morning. Some of the encounter was captured by surveillance videos at Wicked Good Pizza, where the teens were stopping to pick up a pizza.

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Off-duty Pawtucket police officer shot a teen driver in West Greenwich, R.I.
Security camera footage of the incident shows the police officer's truck following the teenagers. (Video courtesy of James Howe)

Surveillance video from the pizza shop shows a black Audi turning slowly into the lot with its blinker on. A white pickup truck with a black bed quickly pulls in beside it, and a man wearing a baseball cap and casual clothing jumps out of the a truck, draws a handgun, and strides over to the Audi. No one exits the car, which backs out of the lot as Dolan approaches it with his gun drawn.

The video also clearly shows Dolan returning to his white truck and driving after the black sedan after the shooting, which took place off-camera but was heard by the teenagers who were working at the pizza store.

Kyle Bettie, owner of Wicked Good Pizza, told the Globe that the incident rattled his young employees, one of whom opened the door as the gunman was walking in the parking lot. The store’s surveillance video also shows the employee suddenly turn back inside, as he and other workers quickly scattered.

The teens drove off and parked further down the road, and Dolan followed them and got out of his truck again, according to the lawyer.

As Joseph Greco hid in the back seat and called 911, Dominic Vincent got out holding his bleeding arm and Vincent Greco got out to help him, Howe said.

But Dolan yelled for Vincent Greco to get away — and left the wounded boy sitting alone on the guardrail.

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Howe said that Dolan never offered first-aid to Dominic Vincent. Howe said the boys told him that Dolan later seemed to be talking with the other police officers and smoking a cigarette.

Vincent was taken to the hospital and is now home recovering from the gunshot wound.

Dolan is part of the Pawtucket Police Department’s community policing unit, according to a Facebook post by the department from May. He is on leave as police and the attorney general’s office also try to figure out what happened. So far, investigators have released few details about the encounter, other than that Dolan had worked a detail in Pawtucket and was driving home.

Attorney General Peter F. Neronha said in a statement Monday that the investigation is ongoing, and that investigators have been in contact with Howe and the teenagers. The attorney general’s office is working with the West Greenwich police and State Police on the investigation.

“As in all such investigations, it is critical that before making any conclusions public, the investigation is effectively complete,” Neronha stated. “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.”

Dolan’s lawyer, Michael J. Colucci of Warwick, declined detailed comment on Tuesday, citing the ongoing and active investigation.

However, Colucci said that Howe’s accounts of the incident “are highly disputed.”

“Police officers, even when off-duty, are expected to take action if they can, when they see something afoot,” Colucci said in a text message Tuesday. He did not elaborate.

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Howe also said he has uncovered evidence that Dolan was involved in “other brutal and violent arrests.”

Pawtucket Councilwoman Melissa DaRosa said that she had fielded complaints about Dolan from people in the community when she was a streetworker, and that he had also been aggressive with her. She said she spoke to Pawtucket Police Chief Tina Goncalves and Mayor Donald Grebien about Dolan when they served together on Community United 4 Positive Change, a coalition to address reforms in policing after the death of George Floyd.

“I said, ‘Are you sure he’s all right?’ ” DaRosa said Monday. She said she was surprised to see Dolan moved into the community police unit.

“I feel bad. He probably could have got help and toned it down,” DaRosa said. “I saw behavior in him that was concerning. I raised it, they didn’t listen and here we are today. I’m just hoping the mayor and the chief will listen more.”


Amanda Milkovits can be reached at amanda.milkovits@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @AmandaMilkovits.