BROOKLYN — An off-duty New York City Police Officer has been sentenced to eight years in prison. He was convicted earlier this month of assault and robbery for robbing a man of cash, jewelry, his clothing and a cellphone at gunpoint and pistol-whipping him outside of a Bushwick nightclub.
District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said, “This defendant’s reprehensible behavior is shocking because he was a New York City police officer at the time of the incident, yet he robbed one man and filed a false report against five others. Thankfully, a proper and thorough investigation revealed his egregious actions and he’s now been sentenced to prison. My Office will continue to protect everyone in Brooklyn and uproot corruption without fear or favor.”
The District Attorney identified the defendant as Anthony Delacruz, 35, formerly of the 94th Precinct in Brooklyn. He was sentenced today by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Jane Tully to eight years in prison and three years’ post-release supervision. The defendant was convicted 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 on April 10, 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 at trial showed 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.
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 District Attorney thanked the New York City Police Department’s Force Investigations Division and Internal Affairs Bureau for assisting in the investigation.