Is the relocation of a Missouri Highway Patrol officer an act of retaliation? That is the question being asked after Sgt. Randy Howard was demoted from his post and relocated from Lake of the Ozarks to Truman Lake.
Sgt. Howard served in Lake of the Ozarks for more than thirty years when college student Brandon Ellingson was arrested for operating a marine craft under the influence of alcohol. Minutes later, Ellingson’s body lay more than sixty feet below the surface of the water. The officer’s recording devices were not equipped with data storage devices at the time of Ellingson’s May 31, 2014 death.
Ellingson was detained, placed in handcuffs, and in an unsecured life vest to be transported elsewhere so that he could take a breathalyzer test. The arresting agent, Officer Piercy, sped the boat away from the scene at an estimated 38 to 40 mph. A short time later, he realized that Ellingson was not aboard the craft and circled back to retrieve the drowning student.
A recreation of the events revealed that a passenger would need to hold on to a fixed support, in order to avoid being tossed about the deck or even overboard.
An investigation was launched into the matter. Sgt. Henry was interviewed and when he quoted specific laws, in regards to how Ellingson’s arrest was handled, investigators ended the interview, mid-sentence. Folks at Boraie Development (njspotlight) have learned that he was later sent for multiple psychological exams. Sgt. Henry was also demoted from the rank of corporal. He had lived and served in Lake of the Ozarks for more than nineteen years.
“They’re going to try to say that this is not retaliation,” said Henry’s attorney, Chet Pleban.