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A Newberry Township man who punched two York County law-enforcement officers in the face in one night has been sentenced to prison.

The defense attorney for Benjamin Celso Torres said his client's punishment holds him accountable but doesn't destroy his future.

"The district attorney's office did a nice job balancing the issues," RJ Fisher told The York Dispatch. "He still has a life ahead of him."

Torres, 32, of Winding Hill Drive, pleaded guilty in York County Court on Wednesday, Sept. 26, to aggravated assault for the Fairview Township officer and to simple assault for the York County sheriff's deputy, court records state.

As part of a negotiated plea agreement, he was sentenced to 11½ to 23 months in York County Prison, with credit for the roughly 6½ months he's already spent locked up, records state.

Torres was ordered to undergo a drug and alcohol evaluation and to comply with any recommended counseling or treatment, according to court records.

'Out of character': "He doesn't have a history of violent or assaultive behavior — this was completely out of character for Ben," Fisher said. "He deals with insomnia and hadn't slept for a few days. That, combined with some alcohol, was the underlying cause of the incident."

Torres has completed a violence-prevention program while locked up, his attorney said.

"He's made great strides while in prison. He's doing everything you'd hope someone in his situation would do," Fisher said. "I have the utmost confidence ... he will be a productive and successful member of our society."

Torres is addressing his underlying issues and is remorseful, according to his attorney.

"He wants to make sure nothing like this happens again," Fisher said, adding that it's his understanding Torres apologized to the officer and the deputy.

The background: Fairview Township Police were called to a home on Sawmill Road the night of March 10 for a report of someone making threats and refusing to leave.

When officers arrived, they found Torres hiding outside, police said. He told officers that he needed to leave the home because those inside were crazy, court documents state.

While speaking with officers, Torres swayed back and forth and rubbed his hands together, police said. He asked if they were "one of them," and he was not making sense, according to officials. He then calmed down and gave the officers his personal information, police said.

Afterward, Torres assumed a "fighting posture" and clenched his fists, documents state. Police say Torres punched an officer in the face and tried to run away.

A second officer tackled Torres, who was subdued after being shocked with a Taser, police said. Neither Fairview Township officer suffered serious injury, according to police.

Assault on deputy: Torres was taken to the York County Central Booking Unit a short time later and was placed in a holding cell, court documents state.

The York County Sheriff's Office said deputies went into the holding cell when Torres' shackles became tangled with a bench.

They removed the shackles and placed them back on him, court documents state. After he was shackled, the deputies told him to stay back so they could exit the cell, but Torres tried to leave first, according to officials.

A deputy put his arm up to keep Torres in the cell, but Torres punched him in the nose, court documents state. Four more deputies ran into the cell, got Torres under control and put him in an emergency-restraint chair, officials said.

The deputy he punched was treated for injuries at York Hospital, police said. 

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

 

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