AG: Shooting by city police justified, lawful
3 Pawtucket officers cleared in fatal shooting of suspect
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.”