The U.S. Attorney’s Office will not be filing any charges against a second Buffalo police officer who was working as private security at Molly’s Pub the night William Sager Jr. suffered fatal injuries at the hands of the bar’s manager.
In a letter sent to attorneys for Officer Adam E. O’Shei, federal investigators say they determined that O’Shei did not commit any federal crime the night of May 10-11, 2014, with his actions after Jeffrey J. Basil pushed Sager down a stairway in the bar. U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. concluded the letter by saying O’Shei was not the subject or target of the federal investigation.
O’Shei also will not face any state charges, according to Erie County District Attorney Frank Sedita III. The officer was granted immunity before his testimony in Basil’s murder trial in January.
O’Shei and Robert E. Eloff, the other officer at Molly’s that night, remain suspended from duty pending the conclusion of internal investigations into their actions at the bar. The police department typically delays disciplinary action in cases that may result in criminal charges until those charges are resolved.
Eloff, 40, does face federal criminal charges for allegedly using his position as a police officer to violate the civil rights of two victims from Molly’s Pub, including one on Feb. 14, 2014, when he allegedly handcuffed a bar patron, took him to the side of the bar, and punched him in the face and kicked him in the head.
The other charge deals with his handling of Sager’s friend Donald Hall outside of Molly’s in May 2014. When Hall asked Eloff for his name and badge number, Eloff allegedly placed him in handcuffs and, investigators say, arrested him for a crime he did not commit.
If convicted of all the charges against him, Eloff could face more than 20 years in prison. His defense attorney, Herbert L. Greenman, has entered a “not guilty” plea on Eloff’s behalf.
O’Shei’s attorney, Joseph M. LaTona, said Thursday that he has not yet received a date for a departmental disciplinary hearing for his client now that he is clear of any possible criminal charges.
“As far as I’m concerned, he should be reinstated,” LaTona said. “He wishes to be reinstated as soon as possible so he can return to serving the community.”
O’Shei continues to receive his pay, as required under state civil service law. Eloff’s pay was discontinued for 30 days in May when the second set of charges was filed against him.
The verdict of second-degree murder in Basil’s January trial later was vacated by State Supreme Court Justice Penny M. Wolfgang due to juror impropriety and Basil, 37, pleaded guilty Tuesday to first-degree manslaughter. He faces a prison term of between 15 and 21 years when he is sentenced July 22.
Two civil suits also have been filed in the Sager case. Sager’s family filed a wrongful-death and civil rights lawsuit against Basil, the bar’s owners and landlord, as well as the City of Buffalo, the police department and commissioner, the police union, Eloff and O’Shei.
Hall has filed a lawsuit against Eloff, the city, the police department, and Officer Michael R. Beavers, who filed the trespass charge based on Eloff’s statements. The suit also names the bar’s owners and accuses the defendants of violating Hall’s civil rights, false arrest, assault and battery, negligent and reckless hiring, and infliction of emotional distress.