Government Police/Fire

Video: Man Arrested After Assaulting Multiple People, Including West Hartford Police Officer

West Hartford Police Department hybrid SUV. Courtesy photo (we-ha.com file photo)

A Hartford man faces multiple charges related to an incident Sunday afternoon in the parking lot of the Price Rite Supermarket at 983 New Britain Avenue in West Hartford. [Updated]

By Ronni Newton

A 39-year-old Hartford man who admitted to using Phencyclidine (PCP) earlier in the day is being held on $250,000 surety bond after assaulting numerous people – including an elderly woman and a West Hartford Police officer – in the parking lot of the Price Rite Supermarket at 983 New Britain Avenue.

Police said Monday that they received multiple 911 calls beginning at 12:39 p.m. Sunday regarding a man, identified as Samuel Rivas, 39, of Hartford, actively assaulting people in the parking lot.

West Hartford Police have released body cam footage of officers arriving on the scene and immediately being approached by Rivas. As a West Hartford officer exits the cruiser and tells Rivas multiple time to “Relax, relax,” Rivas, whose nose was already bloodied, starts swinging at the officer and does not follow any commands.

Rivas continued swinging at the officer and a brief struggle ensued. Another person who was present and observed the incident, whom police are referring to as a “Good Samaritan,” assisted in restraining Rivas until additional officers arrived at the scene and helped handcuff and take Rivas into custody.

“I commend our officer for quickly taking Mr. Rivas into custody before he assaulted additional members of the public,” Chief Vernon Riddick said in a statement. “Moreover, I am extremely appreciative and thankful that a Good Samaritan from
the community assisted our officer until backup officers arrived on scene.”

Footage of the incident can be seen in the video below, taken by the officer’s Axon body camera and provided by West Hartford Police.

Sgt. Amanda Martin said a preliminary police investigation indicated that before police arrived, Rivas had knocked an elderly woman to the ground and hit her in the head, and had assaulted others in the parking lot. “Witnesses on scene reported the male was acting irrational, punching vehicles, and was possibly under the influence of something,” police said.

According to Martin, Rivas was transported to an area hospital for injuries that he had sustained prior to the scuffle with police, and admitted to the use of PCP earlier in the day.

The elderly woman suffered a laceration and contusion to her face and head, but declined transportation to the hospital, police said. No other parties, including police officers, reported being injured resulting from the incident.

Rivas has been charged with assault on an officer, second-degree assault on an elderly person, interfering with an officer, first-degree reckless endangerment, second-degree violation of conditions of release, second-degree breach of peace, and possession of narcotics.

Samuel Rivas. Courtesy of West Hartford Police Department

Online court records indicate that Rivas has previously been convicted of assaulting and interfering with officers, risk of injury, unlawful restraint, driving under the influence, and public indecency.

“The West Hartford Police Department would like to thank the good Samaritans that not only called for assistance but ultimately risked their own well-being to assist our officers and innocent victims. If it were not for their quick actions this already difficult situation could have been escalated further,” Martin said in an email.

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