Judge rules Missouri trooper should get his job back

A Cole County Circuit Court judge says the Missouri State Highway Patrol’s firing of former state trooper Anthony Piercy was unlawful. Piercy was involved in the 2014 drowning death of an Iowa man on the Lake of the Ozarks.

He arrested 20-year-old Brandon Ellingson on suspicion of boating while intoxicated. Ellingson, of suburban Des Moines, fell overboard while handcuffed in an unsecured life jacket and drowned.

Judge Patricia Joyce has ruled that State Patrol Superintendent Sandra Karsten did not have the authority to fire Piercy last December without the recommendation of the patrol’s disciplinary board. That board recommended moving Piercy elsewhere in the state.

Joyce has sent the case back to the agency for consideration of a lesser penalty.

Last year, Piercy was convicted of a misdemeanor charge and is on probation.

The Kansas City Star reports Ellingson’s father was in Missouri Wednesday for a separate hearing about the trooper’s bid to continue working in law enforcement. Ellingson’s father told Missouri officials the trooper’s story about the day Brandon drowned has changed repeatedly in the past four years.

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