Man Charged With Punching Pitcairn Police Officer In The Face

PITCAIRN, Pa. (KDKA) — A man is facing charges after he allegedly punched a Pitcairn police officer in the face.

Police were called to the 200 block of Center Avenue shortly after 6 p.m. Tuesday for a report of a man being harassed by his landlord about money.

According to the criminal complaint, Luis Cruz-Nieves, 61, claimed he was owed approximately $50 for work he had allegedly done years ago. Police say they advised Cruz-Nieves to leave the man alone and go the magistrate’s office. Instead, they say Cruz-Nieves started yelling and causing a disturbance.

Police say they informed Cruz-Nieves that he was going to be cited for disorderly conduct. Cruz-Nieves allegedly responded by saying he did not care, and telling one officer to get out of his face.

A short time later, police say the officer decided to arrest Cruz-Nieves for misdemeanor disorderly conduct. According to the criminal complaint, the officer went to grab Cruz-Nieves’ wrist, but “he pulled away and raised his fists in a fighting stance.”

Police say the officer deployed his Taser and activated the light and laser on the devices. According to the criminal complaint, Cruz-Nieves “stated he had a heart condition/implant and that [the officer] could not use the weapon.”

Police say the officer holstered his Taser and deployed his collapsible baton, ordering Cruz-Nieves to get on the ground. Police say Cruz-Nieves continued to disobey. According to the criminal complaint, the officer struck Cruz-Nieves in his right leg as he attempted to gain control. That’s when Cruz-Nieves allegedly swung at the officer, punching him in the left side of his jaw.

According to the criminal complaint, the strike temporarily dazed the officer, and Cruz-Nieves pinned the officer against a wall. The officer pushed Cruz-Nieves away, and redrew his Taser. At that point, Cruz-Nieves stopped being aggressive and complied with police, who took him into custody.

According to the criminal complaint, the officer who was punched was taken to UPMC East in Monroeville to be evaluated for a laceration to his right thumb and jaw pain. He was cleared and discharged with an antibiotic for his thumb.

Cruz-Nieves is charged with felony aggravated assault, along with misdemeanor counts of simple assault, resisting arrest, harassment and disorderly conduct.

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