Missouri patrol sued over Iowa man's drowning

3 years 1 week 6 hours ago Saturday, December 06 2014 Dec 6, 2014 Saturday, December 06, 2014 12:43:00 PM CST December 06, 2014 in News
By: Harris Chang KOMU 8 Digital Producer and Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The parents of an Iowa man who drowned while in a Missouri state trooper's custody have filed two lawsuits accusing the Missouri State Highway Patrol of negligence.

The parents of 20-year-old Brandon Ellingson allege in their lawsuit that the trooper who detained him violated his constitutional rights. They also allege that the patrol and the Morgan County, Missouri coroner conspired to hide the facts of the case and deflect blame away from Trooper Tony Piercy.

Ellingson, a Clive resident and student at Arizona State University, went into the water on May 31 as Piercy was transporting him on the Lake of the Ozarks. Ellingson had been detained on suspicion of boating while intoxicated.

A phone message left for the patrol on Saturday wasn't immediately returned.

The Ellingson family has organized three separate vigils on December 7th, the day Brandon Ellington would have turned 21. 

Brandon's mother, Sherry Ellingson, told KOMU 8 news they were also planning a symbolic moment of silence. 

"We are holding a vigil for Brandon to mark what would have been his 21st birthday in IA, AZ, and MO," she said. "We are asking everyone to have a four and a half minute moment of silence to reflect the amount of time Brandon tried to stay above water without the life jacket, hands handcuffed and without Piercy jumping in to get him."

The details of the each vigil can be found on the "Justice For Brandon Ellingson" facebook page

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