COLUMBIA, Mo. – The Missouri State Highway Patrol has fired a trooper in connection with the 2014 death of a handcuffed man who fell out of the trooper’s boat.
Brandon Ellingson, 20, died in May 2014 while in the custody of state trooper Anthony Piercy. Ellingson had been arrested on the Lake of the Ozarks for suspicion of boating under the influence and arrested.
Trooper Piercy handcuffed Ellingson and placed a lifejacket over him. However, an improper vest was used and not properly secured. A wave threw Ellingson from the boat and the life vest came off. Ellingson, still in handcuffs, was unable to keep himself afloat and he drowned.
Piercy avoided a trial for involuntary manslaughter by pleading guilty in June to misdemeanor negligent operation of a vessel. He was sentenced in August to just 10 days in jail and two years of supervised probation.
Ellingson’s family has long believed Piercy to be responsible for Brandon’s death.