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Pawtucket police officer acquitted in off-duty shooting of teenage driver

Daniel Dolan Jr. was found not guilty of three felony counts of assault and one count of discharging a weapon while committing a crime of violence in the June 2021 incident, though there was no dispute that he shot and injured the teenager

Off-duty Pawtucket Patrolman Daniel Dolan Jr., seen here in a white shirt in a screen grab from a surveillance video of the incident, was found not guilty on Jan. 26, 2023, of three felony counts of assault and one count of discharging a weapon while committing a crime of violence.

WARWICK – A Pawtucket police officer was acquitted Thursday of all charges in the off-duty shooting of a teen in June 2021, prosecutors said.

A Kent County Superior Court jury found Daniel Dolan Jr. not guilty of three felony counts of assault and one count of discharging a weapon while committing a crime of violence in the incident outside a West Greenwich pizza parlor. There was no dispute that Dolan shot and injured Dominic Vincent, but his attorney argued that the case was classic self-defense.

In closing arguments Wednesday, the two sides presented starkly different portraits of the incident outside Wicked Good Pizza on Nooseneck Hill Road. They were both driving on Route 95 that day, Dolan in a landscaping truck and Vincent in an Audi. Vincent was going more than 100 miles per hour, prosecutors acknowledged.


Dolan later caught up with him off the highway and, he said, stopped to try to have a “fatherly chat” with him. Dolan got out of his landscaping truck flashing his badge and Vincent reversed, which was caught on camera. The actual shooting was not.

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)

Dolan argued that he feared Vincent was going to hit him and drag him with his car; prosecutors said Dolan shot through the driver’s side window, and was not in any danger of being hit. In any case, prosecutors said, Dolan instigated the incident and couldn’t claim self-defense, prosecutors argued.

But Dolan’s attorney, Michael Colucci, pointed to what he said were inconsistencies in witness’ accounts and a 911 recording in which a witness said “the guy tried to run the other guy over.”

In returning their not-guilty verdict, the jurors determined that prosecutors had not proved their case.

The state attorney general’s office acknowledged the verdict in an email Thursday.

“The Attorney General respects our criminal justice system and accepts the jury’s verdict. He understands the family’s deep disappointment, which he shares. He stands with them on this difficult day,” the email read. “The Attorney General thanks the participating witnesses who testified at trial. He is also grateful to the investigatory and prosecutorial team, including the Rhode Island State Police and the West Greenwich Police Department, who all did an outstanding job in the pursuit of justice in this case.”


Colucci said the next step in the process will be getting Dolan back to work.

“It has been a very long ordeal,” Colucci told The Boston Globe in a phone interview. “The sense of relief is tremendous. He was always trying to do the right thing that day, meaning to prevent others from being injured. It’s just part of his makeup.”

James P. Howe, the lawyer for the three teens, said in June 2021 that 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, he said at the time.

Howe also said at the time that there was evidence that Dolan had been involved in “other brutal and violent arrests.”

Pawtucket Councilwoman Melissa DaRosa said in June 2021 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. She said she was surprised to see Dolan moved into the community police unit.


In March 2022, Dolan was charged with domestic disorderly conduct and domestic vandalism after allegedly grabbing his 10-year-old son by the neck and throwing him outside as they were getting ready to go to school, according to an affidavit by Coventry police supporting an arrest warrant. Then, while the children were in the car with his wife, Amy, Dolan was accused of throwing a toy truck at the vehicle and breaking the windshield, according to the affidavit. The domestic case against Dolan was dismissed about a week after it was filed, per court records.


This article has been updated with statements from the attorney general and the police officer’s lawyer, as well as information from previous Globe reports.

Brian Amaral can be reached at brian.amaral@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @bamaral44.