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Sager family moves ahead with civil suit

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

As the killer of Air National Guardsman Bill Sager, Jr. begins his prison sentence, the family is still searching for closure. They appeared Thursday outside Buffalo's Naval and Servicemen's Park Fallen Hero monuments to thank the community for their support during the Molly's Pub trail and sentencing, but didn't discuss the case. WBFO's Eileen Buckley says those questions were answered by the Sager's family lawyer. 

"We believe that there were violations of public policy caused by a policy that was within the Buffalo Police Department that one authorized -- it's officers to work in bars," said Francis Letro, Attorney.

Letro took several questions from the media about the lawsuit. The family is pursuing a civil suit for personal injury and wrongful death claim. Among those being sued, the City of Buffalo, Buffalo Police Department and Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda for allowing off-duty officers to work security at the bar.

"Officers are held to officers 24 hours a day and to uphold the law and see that the law is enforced 24 hours a day. By working in taverns, they are working in a conflict interest situation," stated Letro. 

Sager died of his injuries last year. Under a plea deal, Basil, the bar manager, admitted to pushing Sager down a flight of stairs. Basil was sentenced earlier this week to serve 18 years in prison. 

Attorney Letro  chastised the city police department for a lack of morality clause.

"Most police departments have a morality clause whereby it's officers can not consort or have relationships, let alone work for citizens of disrepute. let alone ex-felons," Letro said.

The City has asked for the case to be dismissed. Letro says he expects oral arguments could begin next month.

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