BROOKLYN — An off-duty New York City Police Officer has been convicted of assault and robbery for robbing a man of cash, jewelry and a cellphone at gunpoint and pistol-whipping him outside of a Bushwick nightclub.
District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said, “This defendant’s actions were truly abhorrent: Not only did he commit a gunpoint robbery, he then falsely accused others of robbing him. That he was a police officer sworn to protect and serve make this conduct even more outrageous. With this verdict, the defendant has been held accountable for his disturbing conduct. I remain committed to prosecute without fear or favor anyone who engages in violence in our communities.”
The District Attorney identified the defendant as Anthony Delacruz, 35, formerly of the 94th Precinct in Brooklyn. He was convicted yesterday following a jury trial before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Jane Tully of one count of first-degree robbery, two counts of second-degree robbery, two counts of second-degree assault, one count of second-degree menacing, one count of third-degree falsely reporting an incident, and two counts of improper display of number plates. The defendant was remanded and immediately fired by the NYPD following the verdict. He faces up to 25 years in prison when he is sentenced on April 29, 2019.
The District Attorney said that, according to trial testimony, on May 28, 2016 at approximately 3:30 a.m., at Wyckoff Avenue and Grove Street, near the El Mekkah Bar and Grill, officers responded to a 911 call for shots fired. Responding officers were told by then- Officer Delacruz – who did not initially identify himself as a police officer or state that he had fired his service weapon – that he was off-duty and in his personal vehicle when he was surrounded by several individuals who stole his gold chain, Rolex watch and a gold ring before they fled. Officer Delacruz said that he then chased after the perpetrators and exchanged gunfire with them, firing his gun once and that there were possibly two shots returned.
While on scene, Officer Delacruz pointed to a group of people who he said were involved in the robbery. All were taken into custody, and video evidence taken from El Mekkah Bar and Grill definitively showed that none of the men identified by Officer Delacruz were involved in the alleged robbery. The men were visible on camera in a different location from where the alleged robbery occurred.
Officer Delacruz and an unidentified accomplice were captured on video confronting another man who was hiding behind a car. The video further shows Officer Delacruz pointing his service weapon at that man.
Furthermore, according to the evidence presented at trial, the defendant, his accomplice and the man who was hiding go off camera. When they return to camera view the unidentified accomplice is carrying clothing and sneakers and he and Officer Delacruz walk away. The victim can later be seen on camera dressed only in a t-shirt, boxer shorts and with no shoes. The evidence showed at trial that the victim was pistol-whipped by the defendant and DNA recovered from the muzzle of the officer’s gun belonged to the victim. A shell casing recovered at the scene matched the defendant’s gun.
During the course of the investigation, Officer Delacruz identified the pistol-whipped victim as one of the men who robbed him. He was arrested and charges that were filed in connection with that alleged incident were later dismissed.
The defendant was taken to a hospital following the events. It was determined he was not in possession of his shield while armed and had an odor of alcohol on his breath, according to the evidence, and was therefore unfit for duty.
Finally, according to the evidence, on the night of the robbery the defendant had New Jersey plates that did not belong to his vehicle on his car and on a later date also had fake New Jersey plates on his car.
The case was investigated by the New York City Police Department’s Force Investigations Division and Internal Affairs Bureau.