Police: York City heroin dealer fought arrest, injured cops

Liz Evans Scolforo

A suspected York City heroin dealer violently resisted arrest, assaulted officers and tried to escape after eventually being taken into custody, according to charging documents.

Francisco Miguel Rivera-Rivera, 24, of 338 E. King St., first floor, is now in York City Prison on $45,000 bail for charges of aggravated assault on police, escape and resisting arrest.

"He's zero for three," York City Detective First Class Andrew Shaffer quipped, then explained Rivera-Rivera later admitted he's been arrested a total of three times, and that all three times he fought unsuccessfully to escape.

Several York City Police officers and detectives suffered scratches and bruises trying to arrest the man, and one officer needed medical attention and an X-ray for a bruised hand, charging documents state.

Francisco Rivera-Rivera

Rivera-Rivera is being held on an additional $45,000 bail for a charge of felony drug dealing, also filed by York City Police, court records state. Shaffer described the man as a street-level heroin dealer.

York City Police drug detectives and members of the department's Nuisance Abatement Unit went to Rivera-Rivera's home about 7:10 a.m. Nov. 15 to arrest him and found him still in bed, according to charging documents.

"As officers attempted to handcuff the defendant, he began to violently resist being handcuffed and required three officers to take him to the ground," documents state.

'It was on': Police kept trying to get handcuffs on Rivera-Rivera, but he "continued to flail his arms and feet and refused orders to stop resisting and to place his hands behind his back," documents state.

"It was on," Shaffer said.

Rivera-Rivera grabbed at the officers and at the equipment on their belts and vests, and he damaged some of that equipment, police allege.

"A total of six officers were required to forcefully detain and handcuff the defendant, requiring control techniques, closed handed strikes and more than one Taser deployment to (effect) the arrest," documents state.

Francisco Rivera-Rivera

Shaffer was one of the officers involved, although with two decades of police work under his utility belt, the detective admitted he would have preferred to let the younger officers handle the struggle.

"I tried to (sit it out)," Shaffer said, "but it took all of us. It was intense."

Rolling on floor: The fight started in the bedroom and moved to a second room.

"It was literally upwards of five minutes that we were rolling around on the floor," Shaffer said. "He was Tased a couple times and would not comply."

Eventually, police got Rivera-Rivera cuffed and took him outside. But Rivera-Rivera tried to escape the minute he was outside, according to Shaffer.

Rivera-Rivera broke free of one of the officers holding him and spun around to free himself from the second officer holding onto him.

Instead, Rivera-Rivera ended up spinning himself into a parked vehicle, Shaffer said.

"Then he fell to the ground once again," the detective said.

At that point, Rivera-Rivera's legs were shackled and he was taken to York Hospital in a transport van to be treated for his own injuries, the detective said.

"We had two officers sit with him in the rear of the vehicle, for our safety and for his safety," Shaffer said.

Bedside arraignment: District Judge Ron Haskell Jr. actually went to York Hospital to arraign Rivera-Rivera in the man's hospital room, according to the detective.

Once that happened, the four city officers who had been guarding Rivera-Rivera at the hospital were able to hand over that duty to York County Prison correctional officers, Shaffer said. City officers didn't leave York Hospital until about 4:30 p.m., he said — more than nine hours after they first tried to arrest the man.

Rivera-Rivera is 5-feet-11 and 180 pounds, according to his charging documents.

"When someone absolutely doesn't want to be arrested, sometimes it's very difficult to get them into custody," Shaffer said. "But for someone to fight for the amount of time he did is unusual."

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.