People Outraged By Sentence Judge Handed Down To Trooper Who Had Man Die On His Watch

A law enforcement officer has been made to pay for a big mistake that he made, but many are saying that he got off easy.

A state trooper in Missouri was trying to arrest a man on a boat in the Lake of the Ozarks in 2014 when the handcuffed man fell into the water and drowned. The officer tried to rescue him but was unsuccessful. He's finally been sentenced for the man's death, and many people were shocked that he was given just 10 days in jail.

Anthony Piercy was charged with involuntary manslaughter for the death of Brandon Ellingson. The 20-year-old was arrested on the lake for boating while intoxicated. The Arizona State University student was put into handcuffs, but his life jacket was not secure and reportedly slipped off. Ellingson then either 'fell or jumped overboard', according to reports.

A witness, Ellingson's friend, said that the officer put the vest over the man's head during the handcuffing. Piercy tried jumping into the water to save Ellingson. He fished around for the college student for several minutes, but was unable to rescue him. The 45-year-old trooper was normally assigned to road patrol, and he claims he was not sufficiently trained to handle the water rescue situation.

"I probably did a bunch of things wrong there," the trooper told his supervisor on a call during the incident. "Keep me posted on if I'm still going to be employed or what's going on."

The student's body was recovered the day after the incident some 70 feet below the surface. He had traces of cocaine in his system, and a breathalyzer taken before the arrest registered at .26, which is three times the legal limit in Missouri.

Piercy plea-bargained and pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor boating violation charge. He was given 'shock time' and probation, a method employed by the legal system to 'shock' first-time offenders in hopes that it will deter future crimes.

The trooper could have received up to 6 months in jail, and the prosecutor asked the judge for a sentence of 30 days. The judge sentenced Piercy to 10 days and two years’ probation.

The prosecutor also requested that Piercy's law enforcement certification be revoked. According to the judge, that was out of his jurisdiction and up to the state. As of now, Piercy is listed as being on unpaid leave, but is still considered employed by the Missouri Highway Patrol.

"It’s my hope he (Piercy) never ever serves as a law enforcement officer again. I’ve fulfilled my obligation but I feel like I have an obligation to the Ellingson family to see this out," said the prosecutor.

Craig Ellingson, the victim's father, was furious about the judge's decision. "Ten days is like a vacation," complained the grieving dad. "It’s a joke. … He knows he’s guilty and he’s damn lucky to get what he got."

In court, Mr. Ellingson faced Piercy and said, "Anthony Piercy, it has been almost three-and-a-half years that I’ve waited to tell you face to face that you’re the reason why my son Brandon is dead... You had no compassion for my son."

The father then broke down in tears and was unable to say anything more.

Piercy responded, "I apologize for the loss that I have caused the Ellingson family. I know that nothing that I will say will ease the pain that they are feeling. And I will never forget that I am the cause of that pain. I am truly sorry for that. Brandon should be here with them today.”

Source: Daily Mail
Photo: Moniteau County Sheriff's Department, Myles Goertz

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