BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – A Buffalo Police Officer who landed on the wrong side of the law will not return to work. Robert Eloff resigned Monday for his role in a chaotic night at a bar in Buffalo. He also pleaded guilty to a lesser charge.
Eloff was off-duty at Molly’s Pub when Jeffrey Basil shoved William Sager down a flight of stairs. Eloff pleaded guilty to deprivation of rights. He could get up to a year in prison when he is sentenced.
It was an emotional day in court for the parents of William Sager. Robert Eloff will face up to one year in federal prison and is forced to resign from the police department for his involvement in the incident.
Something that the Sager family says gives them a little bit of closure. Wililam Sager Sr. said, “Be a Police Officer, don’t be a cop. Do whats right, don’t do whats wrong.”
Two years later, court proceedings bring up memories for the family of William Sager Junior. Sager Sr. said, “He would’ve been a State Trooper by now. He was just about ready to go in.”
In May 2014, Sager was pushed down stairs by Bar Manager, Basil at Molly’s Pub. He later died from his injuries.
Eloff, it’s his actions that night that forced him to turn in his badge and plead guilty to deprivation of rights under color of law in federal court. William Hochul, with the US Attorney’s Office said, “He is a convicted civil rights violator. And he will forever be known as such in addition to now being forced to resign in disgrace.”
Eloff admits to violating Donald Hall’s rights outside of Molly’s Pub. Hall is Sager’s friend who Eloff arrested that night. Eloff was originally charged with at least two felonies. But he is now pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge.
Hochul said, “Facing twelve months in prison if you’re a former Police Officer is hardly a slap on the wrist. Secondly, the alternative was for officer Eloff to not be punished or prosecuted in any shape or form.”
But this charge is too light for Sager’s family. Sager Senior said, “Would I have liked to see a felony? Of course. Everybody would like to see a felony.” Eloff’s Attorney Herb Greenman says this wasn’t an easy day for the father of two. He said, “(He has accepted responsibility, he is prepared to move forward with his life.” He added, “We hope that no one will forget what a terrific Police Officer he was when he was on duty, and all the good things he did.”
Eloff will be sentenced on October 3rd in Federal Court. He will be free on bail until that day.