Brandon Ellingson

Brandon Ellingson

A Missouri Trooper who accuses the Highway Patrol of a cover-up after the drowning an Iowa man has been disciplined.

Within the past year, Randy Henry questioned the Missouri Highway Patrol’s training methods and criticized how it handled the death of 20-year-old Brandon Ellingson of Clive. Ellingson drowned when he fell out of a water patrol boat while handcuffed.

The Patrol has demoted Henry from the rank of sergeant to corporal and transferred him from the Lake of the Ozarks, where he had patrolled for nearly three decades, to the Truman Lake area. Henry’s Attorney Chet Pleban says Henry believes the Patrol is engaged in a cover up about what happened leading to Ellingson’s death.

“He attempted to bring that to the attention of his superiors. They basically indicated that they weren’t terribly interested in that,” Pleban says. “And then he told whoever else wanted to listen. They were not happy obviously with that. So they now recognizing that what he has to say is not in the interest of the Patrol have engaged in conduct that is designed to discredit him.”

Pleban says Henry interviewed Piercy after the tragic incident. “That interview was tanked….according to Randy Henry, what Piercy told him hours after the incident was different from what he was saying later on,” according to Pleban. He says the Missouri Highway Patrol is trying to silence Henry. “He’s being punished by his own organization for telling the truth,” Pleban says.

Pleban calls Henry a whistle-blower and says Henry is appealing the discipline. “The Patrol has engaged in a course of conduct over the last year relating to Randy, because Randy’s position is that the Patrol is covering up this tragic incident,” Pleban says. In addition to the demotion, Pleban says the Patrol subjected Henry to two mental fitness evaluations in an effort to intimidate him.

Pleban says he is prepared to show how the actions of the Missouri Highway Patrol are “thinly disguised malicious efforts to damage the reputation and credibility of a 29-and-a-half year veteran officer because of the public position he has taken.”

Thanks to Kyle Loethen of the Missourinet.