The Brooklyn Supreme convicted an off-duty Bushwick police officer for robbing a man of cash, jewelry and a cellphone at gun-point, pistol-whipping him, and falsely reporting the incident outside the El Mekkah Bar and Grill.
Anthony Delacruz, 35, formerly of the 94th Precinct in Brooklyn, was convicted Thursday 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.
“This defendant’s actions were truly abhorrent: Not only did he commit a gunpoint robbery, he then falsely accused others of robbing him,” District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said. “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.”
According to trial testimony, NYPD officers responded to a 911 call for shots fired at 3:30 a.m. near the El Mekkah Bar and Grill at Wyckoff Avenue and Grove Street. Officer Delacruz told the responders that he was off-duty who had been robbed of a gold chain, Rolex watch and a gold ring in his personal vehicle several individuals before they fled. He said that he chased the firing his service weapon once, and possibly saw two shots fired back.
He then pointed to a group of people who he said were involved in the robbery, although surveillance footage later contradicted this claim. All were taken in custody.
Instead surveillance footage shows Delacruz, alongside an unidentified accomplice, pointing his gun at a man hiding behind a car. According to evidence presented in trial, Delacruz, the accomplice and victim disappear from the frame of the footage and when return the accomplice is carrying carrying clothing and sneakers. The man who was hiding behind the car is later pictured walking away without shoes in boxer shorts.
DNA recovered from the muzzle of the officer’s gun matched the victim, showing that Delacruz had pistol-whipped him. When the defendant was taken to a hospital after the events, he was not in possession of his shield while armed and had an odor of alcohol on his breath and was therefore unfit for duty, according to the evidence.
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.