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Missouri Trooper Not Charged in Drowning

September 09, 2014  | 

A special prosecutor said Monday that she wouldn't criminally charge the Missouri state trooper who handcuffed 20-year-old Brandon Ellingson before he drowned in the Lake of the Ozarks while being transported by boat, reports the Kansas City Star.

The news of no charges came four days after a Morgan County coroner's inquest determined that Brandon Ellingson's death was an accident. Three men and three women listened to hours of testimony, including one hour from Trooper Anthony Piercy. He told them he hadn't received enough training to handle what he encountered the day Ellingson left his boat and drowned in the Lake of the Ozarks, his hands cuffed behind his back.

Special prosecutor Amanda Grellner said she agreed with the jurors' decision.

"I do not believe that it meets the legal definition of reckless," she said. "Criminal recklessness is different than negligence. Do I believe there was negligence here? There's no way to not find negligence, but it doesn't reach to criminal recklessness.

"It's not for me to determine civilly how negligent he was and how liable they are."

Comments (10)

Displaying 1 - 10 of 10

Rick @ 9/9/2014 3:23 PM

Wait; arrest a person on the water and you don't put a PFD on them to prevent them from drowning if they go overboard? That's reckless behavior no matter what the suspect did.

SGT JJ @ 9/9/2014 3:45 PM

Rick, you are right that it is reckless behavior caused most likely because the deputy was never trained on such tactics. Common sense also did not register, or he would have put the PFD on him, providing of course that he wasn't resisting arrest, and then I would have laid him face down and hog tied his feet so he couldn't jump. OR...after handcuffing put the jacket on him backward and tied him in. Drunks at sea are not easy to handle unless you have a few big guys set on them. I do think the department is in for a good civil suit for NEGLIGENT TRAINING!

kevCopAz @ 9/9/2014 3:57 PM

You are both correct. I have never works a marine unit before but common sense and cop sense tells me that i would put a life vest on him (since thats part of what a marine unit enforces every day) and there has to be a way that the officer could have secured him to the boat. If there is not some type of area on the boat for that reason alone the prisoner should never be transported on that craft. I realize a cage is prohibitive on a small craft, but an "eye bolt" or something attached to the seat or the side of the craft. The Department is (and should be) liable for this death for negligence and lack of training, how very stupid! The Deputy should sue them foe lack of training and the stress that they went due to this incident as well

joe @ 9/9/2014 4:16 PM

Always easy for some to second guess. Many of us work in small, rural areas and do not have boats or marine units, but occasionally have to deal with asses on private water. We have had to use private boats to deal with such people. Let's put the blame where it belongs; on the guy who not only got himself arrested, but then continued to act foolishly, or so it seems. Sounds like some of you should work for the ACLU.

eodk9trainer @ 9/10/2014 3:03 AM

Joe. ACLU? Really? Much of the blame certainly belongs on the person that was arrested but some blame has to go to the department for improper training. If you're going to have a marine unit you damn well better train them properly. No difference than having a K9 unit. You expect them to train to a level where their actions won't result in huge lawsuits against the agency.

ftrnr @ 9/10/2014 4:52 AM

After reading a more complete article, I would have to say the agency appears to be at fault. The trooper did put a vest on him, although it was the wrong type and did not have that much time on the water.

carp @ 9/10/2014 9:31 AM

The trooper did put a PFD on the suspect and when the suspect fell/jumped into the water it came off. It might not have been put on properly, but if you're going to discuss it know the facts

132&Bush @ 9/10/2014 10:16 AM

After Ferguson I didn't think Missouri State Troopers cared about the facts. The Capt. they sent there apologized to family and didn't wanted to show video about crime before shooting i.e. throw officer under the bus before any facts were available. I guess Missouri State Troopers are very two faced when their own are involved. Victims mother didn't even get an apology.

TheRookie @ 9/10/2014 3:53 PM

Sure he should have had a flotation device, but that comes with knowledge. Good Judgment Comes From Experience, Unfortunately Experience Comes From Bad Judgment.
Nothing worse in my mind than a knuckle head suspect in custody on a boat. Never was put in that position & thank goodness.

Chris @ 11/12/2014 1:55 PM

First of all Brandon did not jump or fall, he was ejected, the improper life vest was shoved over his head after he was handcuffed, the bolster seat was in an upright position which did not allow him to sit, he was leaning against the bolster seat, the officer speed off at 43 miles an hour hit a wake and Brandon was ejected, again ejected, not fell or jumped! Get your facts before you make comments!

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