Missouri to pay $9 million in Brandon Ellingson drowning lawsuit

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LAKE OF THE OZARKS, MO (KPLR) –The state of Missouri agreed to pay $9 million to the family of a college student who drowned in handcuffs while in the custody of a state trooper.

Brandon Ellingson, 20-year, sank to the bottom of a lake on Memorial Day 2014. His friends snapped a final picture of him as Missouri Highway Patrol Trooper Anthony Piercy took him away for suspicion of boating drunk.

Ellingson had just left Coconuts Bar.

Another Highway Patrol boat captured Trooper Piercy explaining why Ellingson was dead. “He was being real nice and cooperative. It`s not like we were fighting or arguing,” said Piercy.

GPS technology revealed at one point Piercy’s boat was traveling 43.7 mph.

A witness said he was running at 32 mph when Trooper Piercy passed him. That same witness says he saw Ellingson struggling in the water and a life vest floating away with Trooper Piercy standing over him.

In a press release, the Ellingsons expressed their deepest and most sincere appreciation to the people in Iowa, Missouri, Arizona, and across the country who have supported them during this very difficult time. They will continue to ensure that the manslaughter charges pending against Piercy are prosecuted fairly and expeditiously.

They want to make sure that he never serves as a law enforcement officer again.

Piercy was charged with involuntary manslaughter in December. The case, now on its third judge, is set for a hearing Monday, November 21st in Morgan County.

Related stories: Questions remain over handcuffed man drowning in police custody

Records: Missouri trooper had little training before suspect drowned while in custody

Missouri trooper faults training handcuffed in drowning death

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