Robert Eloff pleads not guilty to federal charges

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – The federal case against Robert Eloff is moving forward after the suspended Buffalo police officer officially pleaded not guilty to two felony charges against him that had been handed up by a grand jury the day before, accusing him of violating another man’s civil rights.

Eloff is charged with willful deprivation of rights under color of law and conspiracy to deprive a person of rights under color of law. The
first count carries a maximum penalty of one year in prison with a $100,000 fine; the second count could carry up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Both charges are connected to an incident in May 2014 at Molly’s Pub when Eloff was working as a security guard while off duty from the Buffalo police force. Federal prosecutors say Eloff violated Donald Hall’s right to be free from unreasonable seizure when he illegally arrested him without probable cause right after his friend, William Sager, was was fatally pushed down stairs by Jeffrey Basil. Prosecutors also say Eloff conspired with Basil to violate the civil rights of both Hall and Sager that night.

With Eloff pleading not guilty on Thursday, the case against him will move forward. Oral arguments are now scheduled to begin October 22 in federal court.

In the meantime, the conditions of Eloff’s release are unchanged. He remains out of police custody, free on his own recognizance.

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