AG: Shoot­ing by city po­lice jus­ti­fied, law­ful

3 Paw­tucket of­fi­cers cleared in fa­tal shoot­ing of sus­pect

Pawtucket Times - - FRONT PAGE - By JONATHAN BIS­SON­NETTE jbis­son­nette@paw­tuck­et­times.com

PAW­TUCKET — Last month’s fa­tal, of­fi­cer-in­volved shoot­ing of DaShawn Cole by mem­bers of the Paw­tucket Po­lice Depart­ment was de­ter­mined to be law­ful and legally jus­ti­fied, the At­tor­ney Gen­eral’s Of­fice an­nounced on Wed­nes­day.

The Prov­i­dence County Grand Jury on Wed­nes­day com­pleted its in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the facts and cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing the Sept. 7 fa­tal shoot­ing of Cole by three Paw­tucket Po­lice Of­fi­cers and the Grand Jury de­ter­mined the of­fi­cers’ ac­tions to be “law­ful and legally jus­ti­fied,” the AG’s of­fice said in a one-para­graph state­ment.

Po­lice last month said that of­fi­cers were re­spond­ing to a 911 call for a man with a firearm on Cot­tage Street at about 6:15 a.m. on Sept. 7, as a man was al­legedly seen walk­ing with a firearm in his waist­band. The first re­spond­ing of­fi­cer – Of­fi­cer Ana Ver­tentes – lo­cated a man who matched the caller’s de­scrip­tion on New­port Av­enue. Po­lice have said that Ver­tentes at­tempted to make con­tact with the man, who was in pos­ses­sion of a firearm, and who was later iden­ti­fied as the 28-year-old Cole.

Ac­cord­ing to a po­lice state­ment, Cole “im­me­di­ately at­tacked her,” and po­lice of­fi­cials at a press con­fer­ence last month de­scribed the con­fronta­tion as a “felony as­sault on an of­fi­cer.” Po­lice said that “a vi­o­lent strug­gle en­sued be­tween Of­fi­cer Ver­tentes and Cole, re­sult­ing in her dis­charg­ing her firearm.”

Paw­tucket Po­lice Of­fi­cers Wil­liam Briggs and Dianne Rittman-McLaugh­lin also re­sponded, and po­lice said that an armed Cole also con­fronted them, re­sult­ing in Rittman-McLaugh­lin and Briggs fir­ing at him.

Po­lice have not said whether Cole fired on the of­fi­cers or how many shots were fired by the of­fi­cers, nor have they iden­ti­fied what type of firearm he was car­ry­ing.

Of­fi­cers at­tempted CPR and life-sav­ing

mea­sures on the wounded Cole on scene un­til res­cue per­son­nel ar­rived. Cole was pro­nounced dead that day at Rhode Is­land Hospi­tal.

Ver­tentes has been a mem­ber of the Paw­tucket Po­lice Depart­ment since July 2016. Of­fi­cers Rittman-McLaugh­lin and Briggs have been with the depart­ment since 2010. The three of­fi­cers were on ad­min­is­tra­tive leave fol­low­ing the shoot­ing.

The Sept. 7 shoot­ing was the sev­enth fa­tal shoot­ing in­volv­ing the Paw­tucket Po­lice Depart­ment since 2006 and the se­cond since 2016. The ACLU of Rhode Is­land in the days af­ter the fa­tal shoot­ing called on the At­tor­ney Gen­eral and Paw­tucket Po­lice Chief to con­duct a “thor­ough re­view of the Paw­tucket Po­lice Depart­ment’s train­ing and prac­tices to de­ter­mine the causes be­hind this dis­con­cert­ing track record.”

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