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Officer at Molly's Pub incident faces a year in prison

Unconscious and near death, William C. Sager Jr. was nevertheless handcuffed.

So was his friend, Donald Hall. Unlike Sager, he lived to tell about his run-in with the off-duty Buffalo Police Officer, Robert E. Eloff.

It was May of 2014 and Eloff was working private security at Molly's Pub when bar manager Jeffrey J. Basil, during an altercation, shoved Sager down a flight of stairs.

Later, when Basil demanded Sager be arrested, Eloff placed him, unconscious, in cuffs.

An Air National Guardsman, Sager, 28, suffered a serious brain injury and died about two months later.

Basil went to prison for killing Sager and now Eloff, who has since resigned from the force, is looking at prison for his role in falsely arresting Hall.

Under his misdemeanor plea deal with federal prosecutors, the 41-year old Eloff faces up to a year in prison when he is sentenced Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara.

In his plea agreement, Eloff admits his arrest of Hall was improper and that it was a reaction to Hall's demand for his name and badge number.

Hall, who claims he was simply trying to get help for his injured friend, instead found himself facing a fabricated charge of trespassing.

"Just so the record is clear, it wasn't a mistake of judgment," prosecutors said of Hall's arrest, "but rather, the defendant's fabrication of events."

In the defense's memo to Arcara, Eloff's lawyers asked for a non-jail sentence and point to their client's admission of guilt and resignation from the police department.

Even after today's sentencing, Sager's death will continue to be the subject of a civil lawsuit brought by his family. They are Basil, the bar’s owners and landlord, the City of Buffalo and the Buffalo Police Department.

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