Former Buffalo police officer sentenced to jail and home confinement

Posted at 1:02 PM, Dec 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-07 13:29:38-05

UPDATE -- A federal judge has sentenced former Buffalo police officer Robert Eloff to serve three months in prison, three months of home confinement and a year probation for violating a person's civil rights.

He will not have to surrender until after January 1st so he can spend the holidays with his family.



Eloff admitted to violating Donald Hall's rights outside of Molly's Pub in May of 2014. This happened the same night William Sager was pushed down stairs by bar manager Jeffrey Basil.

Eloff wrote a letter to the court ahead of Wednesday's sentencing. The letter is shown above or can be read below.


Dear Judge Arcara:

I would like to thank you for the opportunity to write you. I have always been blessed with great family and friends and many have written letters on my behalf. I feel honored and humbled to have so many great people willing to speak about my character.

I grew up in Buffalo and was raised in the same house almost my whole life. I have a large family and we are all still extremely close. My Parents split up when I was very young but my dad has always been involved in my life. My mother, a strong, outspoken Italian Catholic woman raised me to be kind, understanding, compassionate and loving. She sacrificed so I could play sports, be in programs and attend Canisius High School. I saw in her someone who was loved by the way they love and I have tried to model my life after that. I graduated from UB with a Bachelors in psychology. I worked at Baker Victory Services in the boys units and as a caseworker. That job was very rewarding as well as extremely frustrating, and I had to be very creative with the kids and families to motivate and educate.

My life long passion however was to be a police officer. I have always tried to treat others the way I wanted to be treated. I received several awards from Buffalo housing police and Buffalo Police but hose were not the highlights of my career. I remember sitting in city court when a young man approached me and asked if I was Officer Eloff. I stood up and said yes. This young man proceeded to tell me how I arrested him for drugs. He went on to explain how he was in a bad place and his life was headed down a very bad path. Because of that arrest and because of the time I took to speak with him he has remained clean and clearly sees the disastrous effects drugs had on him and company he was keeping. He thanked me profusely and I offered him my number and said if he ever found himself in a situation and needed to be reminded of this conversation, any time of day I would speak with him and lend a hand. While this case is the extreme it happened on a smaller scale several times over my career. I led B-district 2 years in a row in arrests because I felt I was helping.

As a police officer we are charged with making meaningful and lasting, that night mine was in error. I overreacted and let my emotions get the better part of me. I feel like I let my Family, friends, co-workers and the department down. I cannot apologize to Mr. hall enough for that night or even the Sager family as their loss was truly tragic. I pray for Mr. Sager and his family ever week at Church. Thank you very much for your time.


Robert E. Eloff Jr.