Death investigation of Brandon Ellingson, an Iowa citizen, while in custody

Sherry Henrickson Ellingson,
Clive, USA

I was so proud of my son, Brandon. He was going into his junior year of Business College at Arizona State University and he was planning to join our family business when he graduated. But on the night of May 31, Brandon drowned while in the custody of the Missouri Highway/Water Patrol. Now all I can think, over and over, is how did this happen? Who let this happen?

On that day, Brandon was out with his friends boating at The Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri. He was arrested for suspicion of boating while intoxicated. By taped accounts of the arresting officer himself, Brandon was respectful and compliant while he was taken into custody, placed in handcuffs, donned with an ill-fitting and inappropriate life vest, and driven away at extremely high speeds. Brandon was ejected from the boat when it hit a large wave at 43 MPH and when he hit the water, the life jacket floated away from him. With his hands tied behind his back, Brandon struggled to stay above the water for many minutes. It wasn’t until a woman in a passing boat yelled for the officer to jump in and save him that he finally jumped in the water, but by then it was too late. While the patrol’s boat was equipped with three audio-visual cameras, the memory cards were not in place and the atrocious events of the day were not recorded. Brandon’s body was recovered from the water the next day in 70 feet of water.

Rather than bring in a person outside of the Missouri Highway Patrol to investigate the death of a civilian in their custody, they conducted their own internal investigation. Then they had a coroner’s inquest with a hand picked jury; crucial witnesses and evidence were left out and no cross-examination was allowed. Jurors deliberated for less than 8 minutes before determining Brandon’s death to be accidental. Four days later, the prosecutor said she would accept the jury’s decision, and no charges would be filed against the officer.

I'm not the only person who thinks the circumstances of my son's death are suspicious and outrageous. The Missouri State House speaker has created a committee to investigate safety on the lake and my son's story has been reported in news outlets like The Kansas City Star and USA Today. The person responsible for Brandon's death needs to be held accountable, so that nothing like this ever happens again. The people that helped cover-up and whitewash his death as a tragic accident need to be held responsible, as well.

Brandon was a really special person. He had an infectious laugh and a love of life, and no matter who you were he made you feel like you were his best friend. When Brandon was in high school, our home was a gathering place for all kinds of kids -- older, younger, different schools, different sports. They all came to hang out with Brandon. That's who he was. He brought people together.

And now, people are coming together for Brandon again. We're coming together to demand that the Department of Justice hold those people responsible for taking the life of a bright, promising young man and all those covering up the facts. It's time to shine a light on what really happened to my son. Please join me in demanding the Department of Justice investigate the Missouri Highway Patrol, specifically in regards to the death investigation of Brandon Ellingson, while in their custody. For updates on our progress, please visit.

http://www.justiceforbrandonellingson.org

People deserve respect, not despice and brutality of the police.

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Comment by Less Prone on August 31, 2015 at 8:44pm

Please help us get Justice for Brandon Ellingson

"Local media have been actively covering Brandon's story and reporting on the cover up that has clearly taken place within the Missouri State Highway Patrol. Each week brings more disturbing details of the practice of the Highway Patrol - and it's apparent that the cover up of Brandon's death stretches far beyond the patrol itself and into the very Missouri state government.Local media have been actively covering Brandon's story and reporting on the cover up that has clearly taken place within the Missouri State Highway Patrol. Each week brings more disturbing details of the practice of the Highway Patrol - and it's apparent that the cover up of Brandon's death stretches far beyond the patrol itself and into the very Missouri state government.

So far NO local politician will speak out on Brandon's case. We are particularly appalled by the inaction of Rep Diana Franklin and Rep Rocky Miller who so far have not made a SINGLE public comment regarding Brandon. Their silence is shameful - and will be remembered at election time.

LINK

Comment by Less Prone on October 16, 2014 at 8:46am

Letter from Sherry Henrickson Ellingson

100,000 Signatures!!

October 15, 2014 — Thank you for signing the petition calling for a Full Investigation into the tragic death of my son, Brandon Ellingson, at the hands of the Missouri Water Patrol.

Support for Brandon continues to grow at a rapid rate and we are hopeful that justice will eventually prevail.

We recently launched a new Facebook page for Brandon – and invite you to ‘Like’ this page. The address is:

https://www.facebook.com/JusticeForBrandonEllingson

This page will provide regular updates on Brandon’s case, campaigning efforts and personal messages from those close to Brandon.

Please also urge as many of your family, friends and contacts to sign Brandon’s petition. The state of Missouri has so far chosen to ignore the facts surrounding my son’s drowning so it’s crucial that together we apply as much pressure as possible and call for accountability and change.

I never want anyone else to go through what my family has suffered.

Thank you so much for your continued support.
Sherry Henrickson Ellingson

Comment by Less Prone on October 14, 2014 at 7:29pm

It's a disgrace what the police can do and get away with. The death of this young man was a complete failure of the police to do what they were supposed to do, to protect the people. But then again, it's not their real job anymore. Their job description seems to have been turned around a 180 degrees to a complete opposite of the original. What can you do when the police becomes criminal?

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