State officials have revoked the law enforcement license of a former Missouri State Highway Patrol trooper who was driving a patrol boat when a handcuffed Iowa man fell out and drowned.

The Missouri Department of Public Safety permanently revoked Anthony Piercy’s peace officer license after reviewing evidence in the drowning of Brandon Ellingson, 20, of Clive, Iowa, who died at the Lake of the Ozarks in 2014, The Kansas City Star reported.

Piercy was sentenced in September to 10 days in county jail and two years of supervised probation after pleading guilty to misdemeanor negligent operation of a vessel.

Ellingson’s father, Craig Ellingson, who has been sharply critical of the state and the investigation into his son’s death, had pushed for Piercy to lose his Peace Officer Standards and Training license for life. He said he didn’t believe Piercy’s sentence was a strong enough punishment.

“It’s a good day for Brandon and it’s a good day for Missouri,” Ellingson said Tuesday. “I think people may take a deep breath today and say, ‘Hey they did something right. They did the right thing.’ ”

Piercy’s attorney, Tim Van Ronzelen, said he plans to appeal the license revocation.

Piercy was fired after Ellingson’s death, but a judge later ruled that patrol Superintendent Col. Sandra Karsten didn’t have the authority to override a disciplinary review board’s recommendation that Piercy be reinstated and transferred.

All state officers and troopers must have the peace officer license in order to work.

Piercy stopped Brandon Ellingson on May 31, 2014, for suspicion of boating while intoxicated. Ellingson was handcuffed and placed in a life vest that was improperly secured and was the wrong one for a handcuffed person to wear. When the boat hit a wave, Ellingson fell into the water and the life jacket came off. Piercy jumped in to try to save him, but failed.

A coroner’s inquest ruled Ellingson’s death an accident in September 2014, but a special prosecutor charged Piercy with involuntary manslaughter in December 2015. He later pleaded to a misdemeanor of negligent operation of a vessel.

Kurt Parsons
Kurt Parsons

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