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Buffalo police officer indicted

A federal grand jury has returned a two-count indictment charging Robert Eloff Jr., 40, of Buffalo, with deprivation of rights under color of law and conspiracy to deprive an individual of rights under color of law.

The charges carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

U.S. Attorney Joseph M. Guerra said Eloff is charged in connection with a May 11, 2014 incident at Molly’s Pub in Buffalo, where, in the early morning hours, William Sager was pushed down a flight of stairs by Jeffrey Basil. Sager later died of his injuries and Basil was convicted in state Supreme Court of murder. At the time Sager was pushed by Basil, Eloff was in Molly’s Pub working security for the bar.

A victim identified as D.H., who was with William Sager, saw people carry Sager outside after he fell down the stairs. When the victim went outside, Sager was propped up, sitting on the ground. As he was asking officers what happened, Eloff grabbed D.H. and told him to get out of there. The victim then walked away and called 911. When other officers arrived, the victim asked for Eloff’s name and badge number at which point he was arrested and handcuffed by Eloff and seated next to Sager.

D.H. was later taken from the scene by other officers. According to the complaint, Eloff told officers that D.H. had physically interfered with Eloff and others inside the bar. A later review of surveillance video from Molly’s Pub revealed the victim never confronted or was physical with Eloff in the bar. According to the complaint, Eloff caused D.H. to be arrested for trespassing, a crime he never committed. During the incident Eloff also handcuffed William Sager and attempted to arrest him. The indictment alleges Eloff conspired with another person to arrest D.H. and Sager for crimes they did not commit.