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Missouri Trooper Charged With Manslaughter in Drowning Of Handcuffed Man Pleas to “Boating Violation” (Update)

Brandon Ellingson Drowning Lake of the Ozarks Missouri Trooper Anthony Piercy

Shortly before his trial was set to begin, Missouri State Trooper Anthony Piercy was given a plea deal that reduces the charge he was facing for the May 2014 drowning of Brandon Ellingson from a felony charge to a low level misdemeanor. As a result, he will face a maximum sentence of just six months in jail and/or a $500 fine.

Also, as part of that deal, he can withdraw the plea if the prosecution recommends jail time. So, essentially it guarantees that the worst punishment he will possibly get is a short probation sentence and a small fine.

Piercy had originally been charged with involuntary manslaughter for his actions that led to the death of Ellingson. Witnesses also testified that he failed to make any attempt to rescue Brandon while he was drowning. Instead, the Trooper was allowed to plea down to a charge of “negligent operation of a vessel,” a minor boating violation that is essentially equivalent to a traffic ticket.

As has been reported previously here on Nevada Cop Block, Ellingson was arrested by Trooper Piercy for boating while intoxicated at the Lake of Ozarks. Prior to transporting him back to shore, Piercy handcuffed Ellingson’s hands behind his back and subsequently incorrectly placed a life vest over his arms. He also reportedly was traveling too fast in a State Water Patrol boat.

Due to that excessive speed, Ellingson was thrown out of the boat when it hit a large wake. The improperly secured life vest came off soon after Ellingson was knocked into the water. He was then unable to remain afloat and also unable to swim with his hands cuffed behind his back.

Later, Trooper Piercy told several lies in an effort to avoid responsibility for Brandon Ellingson’s preventable death. One of those lies was that Ellingson had intentionally jumped out of the boat. Also, during a phone call with his supervisor (embedded below), Piercy claimed that he attempted to save Ellingson once he went overboard. Among other things in that call, he claimed that he was sore from having “tread water” while trying to pull Ellingson out of the lake, implying that he had jumped in after him.

However, independent witnesses aboard a private boat that came upon the location where Ellingson drowned contradicted those claims. According to the occupants of that boat, Piercy only held a pole out toward him and never made any effort to jump in the water even when they screamed at him to do so. In addition, the captain of that boat, Jim Bascue, stated that none of them knew at the time that Ellingson was restrained by handcuffs. Bascue stated that had he known that he would have jumped in and saved Elllingson himself.

Ellingson’s father begrudgingly accepted the plea deal (see first video embedded below):

“This is the best we were going to get here,” said Craig Ellingson. “It would have been a hung jury, or he would have gotten off. I didn’t want to risk the chance we wouldn’t get the opportunity to see him face to face and say what we want to say. Now we get that. We know what he’s guilty of.”

The trial would have been held in Piercy’s hometown of Versailles, which has just over 2,000 residents, most of whom have some connection to him or his family.

Other family members, including Brandon’s mother, Sherry Ellingson, were more outspoken about the complete lack of justice this deal represents. (Via KansasCity.com):

For Sherry Ellingson, the plea Tuesday did nothing to ease her pain. A trial, she said, would have further exposed how Piercy did little to help her son before he sank in handcuffs to the bottom of the lake and how the patrol then tried to conceal the truth of what happened.

“I don’t really give a care what his punishment is, but I wanted his record to say ‘manslaughter,’ ” Sherry Ellingson told The Star. “If anyone says that justice has now been served, you have got to be kidding me. In what way?”

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“What Happened in Vegas” Documentary; LVMPD Racial Profiling, False Arrest Case Featured on Las Vegas’ Local ABC Station

As I reported yesterday, Silk Galloway will be in court at 1:30pm today (Wednesday, June 28th) for a motion hearing regarding his case within Municipal Court Department 2, room 5B. During that hearing, he will be asking that the ridiculous and false obstruction charge that he is facing be dropped.

Last night, “KTNV Channel 13 Action News,” Las Vegas’ local ABC affiliate, featured a story about his case. Within that coverage they also mentioned that Galloway’s assault and false arrest by a “Saturation Team” from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department was included in an anti-police brutality documentary that will be opening in theaters in August.

In addition to the racial profiling of Galloway, “What Happened in Vegas,” by Ramsey Denison, focuses on the murders of Erik Scott, Trevon Cole, Stanley Gibson, and Tashii Brown, as well as other abuses and the cover up of those abuses by the LVMPD.

Via KTNV.com:

Galloway, who was a passenger in the car, has been charged with obstruction in the case that dates back to 2015.

His attorney, Stephen Stubbs, is asking those charges be dismissed.

That motion is set for a hearing on Wednesday afternoon.

It all started when Las Vegas police pulled over the car Galloway was in.

“The officer looks over at me and says, ‘do you have your Id?’ and I said yes. He said, ‘may I have it? and I said no you may not,” Galloway said in an interview for the documentary “What Happened in Vegas”.

Stephen Stubbs says his client was correct there.

“They demanded the ID and he said no. Rightfully. Silk was right on the law,” Stubbs said.

It was just after that point that Galloway started recording with a GoPro camera on his dash.

It eventually captured him being pulled from the car.

“I’m going to give you to the count of three or I’m going to pull you out,” an officer is heard saying in the video.

Stubbs points out the officer didn’t start counting like he said he would before pulling Galloway out, but says he was more disturbed by what followed.

“The police did not act right here, and my clients rights were violated,” Stubbs said.

When they didn’t find anything, the officers, apparently unaware the camera was recording, are overheard talking about the results.

“Do what you got to do, because we gotta find something,” an officer is heard saying on the GoPro video.

Officers eventually took Galloway to jail on obstruction charges.

“They treated him like an animal. They took him to jail. They arrested him and they cavity searched him,” Stubbs said.

Various groups within the community have called for courtroom support for Galloway during this hearing. In addition, there will be a short rally outside, beginning at noon, to show that support and bring attention to the issues involved in this case. Afterwards, people will be encouraged to attend the hearing as well, in order to show that the community stands with Silk Galloway and will not stand idly by during this miscarriage of justice.

People are welcome to bring signs or other relevant materials to the rally, although you won’t be able to bring them to the courtroom. There should be enough time in between to put them away.

Preview of “What Happened in Vegas”

Video Featuring Police Body Camera Footage and GoPro Video

Original GoPro Video

Related Posts Submitted By or About Stephen Stubbs:

Stephen-Stubbs-CopBlockThose of you that have followed CopBlock.org over the past several years are probably already aware that Stephen Stubbs has been a frequent subject of posts on  NVCopBlock.org. He often represents bikers and motorcycle organizations, whom are frequent targets of harassment from the police. In addition, I have personally worked with Stephen in the past on several occasions through Nevada Cop Block on issues or cases involving his clients or on know your rights seminars he has done within the Las Vegas area.

Therefore, there is a pretty lengthy (and growing) list of posts on the Nevada Cop Block site involving Stephen Stubbs, his clients, and/or people or groups he is associated with. Included below are links to those posts.

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Update: Demonstration and Courtroom Support for Silk Galloway; LVMPD Racial Profiling, False Arrest Victim

“Do what you gotta do ’cause we gotta find something.”

That quote comes from the instructions that LVMPD Lt. Connell gave to one of the officers working as part of a “Saturation Team” just after they had pulled over Solomon “Silk” Galloway (Galloway commonly goes by his middle name), then assaulted and falsely arrested him in February of 2016.

Realizing that they didn’t have any actual crime to charge him with, they quickly came to the conclusion that they had to “find something” to retroactively justify that arrest. Unbeknownst to them, the entire illegal search, including those instructions to just “find something,” was being recorded by a GoPro camera inside the car.

Prior to that, Galloway and a co-worker had been pulled over under the pretense they had been speeding. However, as reported here previously, the body camera footage released later (embedded below) actually shows the speedometer in the police vehicle that pulled them over, proving that they weren’t speeding at the time. Instead, it appears to simply be a case of racial profiling which they then unnecessarily escalated into the eventual false arrest.

Racial profiling is pretty much what saturation teams were created to do, so that kinda goes without saying. When Galloway refused to cooperate with their unlawful orders to present ID, even though he as the passenger of the vehicle was under no obligation to do so, they decided they would arrest him and “find something” later. Unfortunately, they were never actually able to “find something.” There were no drugs or anything else illegal on him or within the car.

Instead, they decided to charge Galloway with “obstruction,” which is otherwise known as “contempt of cop.” Over a year later, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and Clark County County District Attorney Steve Wolfson continue to push forward with this ridiculous charge. Tomorrow, Wednesday June 28th, Galloway will be in court at 1:30pm for a motion hearing regarding his case within Municipal Court Department 2, room 5B.

Various groups within the community have called for courtroom support for Galloway during this hearing. In addition, there will be a short rally outside, beginning at noon, to show that support and bring attention to the issues involved in this case. Afterwards, people will be encouraged to attend the hearing as well, in order to show that the community stands with Silk Galloway and will not stand idly by during this miscarriage of justice. People are welcome to bring signs or other relevant materials to the rally, although you won’t be able to bring them to the courtroom. There should be enough time in between to put them away.

Among the many issues already discussed previously, some members of the community have questioned whether the judge in the case, Susan Roger, has a conflict of interest since her husband, David Roger, works as the lawyer for the Las Vegas Police Protective Association (LVPPA). As a result, they are asking for her to recuse herself from this case. While that won’t happen (because she would then have to recuse herself from any case involving the police) it serves as a good reminder of David Roger’s own conflicts of interest.

For those not aware, David Roger was the District Attorney during the “investigations” of the murders of Erik Scott and Trevon Cole by Las Vegas police officers. He resigned shortly after the murder of Stanley Gibson by Officer Jesus Arevalo while that “investigation” was still underway to accept a position as the LVPPA’s lawyer. So, he went from the head of the department that absolutely refused to file any charges against police officers when they kill someone on duty to the guy who officially defends them for the police union.

Video Featuring Police Body Camera Footage and GoPro Video

Original GoPro Video

Related Posts Submitted By or About Stephen Stubbs:

Stephen-Stubbs-CopBlockThose of you that have followed CopBlock.org over the past several years are probably already aware that Stephen Stubbs has been a frequent subject of posts on  NVCopBlock.org. He often represents bikers and motorcycle organizations, whom are frequent targets of harassment from the police. In addition, I have personally worked with Stephen in the past on several occasions through Nevada Cop Block on issues or cases involving his clients or on know your rights seminars he has done within the Las Vegas area.

Therefore, there is a pretty lengthy (and growing) list of posts on the Nevada Cop Block site involving Stephen Stubbs, his clients, and/or people or groups he is associated with. Included below are links to those posts.

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Update: Second Mistrial Declared; Cincinnati Cop Ray Tensing Gets Away With Murder of Sam Dubose

For the second time, a jury has stated that it was deadlocked and unable to reach a decision on charges filed against University of Cincinnati Police Officer Ray Tensing for the July 2015 murder of Sam Dubose. (See videos embedded below for body camera footage of that murder.) The jury initially indicated this morning that it was unable to reach a decision, but were told to go back and continue deliberating. Later this afternoon they returned and stated they were still deadlocked. As a result, Hamilton County Judge Leslie Ghiz has declared a mistrial.

Although it hasn’t been officially announced yet, there won’t be a third trial. So that effectively means Tensing has officially joined the ever expanding club of police officers who have gotten away with murder, including three just this week alone (Tensing, Milwaukee Police Officer Dominique Heaggan-Brown, and St. Paul Police Officer Jeronimo Yanez).

Of course, in order to have their killings declared justified all police officers need to do is state that they “feared for my life” and in order to get a mistrial they just need one of the twelve members of a jury to buy that rationalization. So that bar is incredibly low and that’s mostly by design. The system itself is tilted heavily in their favor and those running that system not only are their friends and co-workers, but have the further incentive of self preservation to push it even further in that direction.

In Tensing’s case, he claimed that he was in danger of being run over by Dubose as he attempted to drive away from a traffic stop the University of Cincinnati police officer had initiated because of a missing front license plate.

Via NBC News:

Tensing asked DuBose for his driver’s license and registration, which he failed to provide. The officer then ordered him to step out of his car and tried to open the door, but DuBose refused. The car began to pull away

With one hand still inside the car, Tensing yelled, “Stop! Stop!” before firing his gun at DuBose, striking him in the head. The car then began traveling out of control before coming to a stop.

Tensing’s bodycam captured the incident.

The men had a conversation for about one minute and 50 seconds before it escalated with Tensing and DuBose in a struggle. Within just a few seconds, Tensing fired his gun.

Two other officers were on scene, and their body cameras captured other angles of the shooting’s aftermath.

Those alternate angles captured by the other officers on the scene, as well as testimony from experts who examined those videos, contradicted Tensing’s claims that he was being dragged by, and in danger of being run over by, Dubose’s car.

It’s also been questioned whether the stop for something as trivial as a front license plate was merely an excuse used to justify a racially motivated profiling of Dubose. Officer Tensing’s unusually frequent history of traffic stops (when compared to other University of Cincinnati police officers) and the high percentage of minorities involved in those stops bolsters those claims.

Of course, the judges, prosecutors, and media are usually on the side of the cops and the general public is taught from the day they are born to believe cops are heroes that never lie or do anything bad. So it’s not that hard for them to at least find that one juror who will refuse to find a cop guilty, regardless of the actual facts presented during a trial. That’s a big part of why it’s almost impossible to convict a police officer regardless of the actual facts on the rare occasions when they get caught doing something outrageous enough to get charged in the first place.

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Update: Officer Jeronimo Yanez the Latest Cop to Get Away With Murder After Philando Castille Verdict

Earlier this afternoon, a jury in Minnesota reached a verdict in the trial of St. Anthony Police Officer Jeromino Yanez. Yanez had been charged with second degree manslaughter after he shot Philando Castille seven times in July of 2016. At the time Yanez decided to start shooting, Castille was reaching for his ID that Yanez had asked him for seconds earlier. Presumably, Officer Yanez was afraid that he was instead reaching for a (legally registered) gun that Castille had informed him of. Castille’s girlfriend, who was also in the car along with their four year old daughter, live-streamed, via Facebook Live, his final moments and her own treatment by the police after the shooting. (Video embedded below.) Philando Castille’s “crime” consisted of having a broken taillight.

Sadly, but not at all surprisingly, the verdict that was announced was “not guilty.” The glaring reality that cases like this and those of Tulsa Police Officer Betty Shelby, who was also issued a license to murder just last month, serve as grim reminders of is that, even on the rare occasions when cops are charged with a crime after unnecessarily killing someone, it’s close to impossible for them to be convicted. Of course, even beyond the basic pre-conditioning of society of the provably false notions that the police are always right and never lie, the deck is always stacked in their favor during these show trials.

A judge controls what evidence can be presented to the jury and what will instead be excluded because it is “inflammatory” or prejudicial. Meanwhile, the onus of presenting that evidence falls to the prosecutor’s office, who work with the police on a daily basis and are dependent on maintaining good relations with them for every other case they pursue. Most trials against police officers are as much a forfeit as they are a loss.

Not only that but the bar is set incredibly low for police officers, even when they kill people that were clearly innocent. All they have to do is wear their Magic Uniform (sometimes they don’t even have to do that) and use those Magic Words, “I feared for my life.” That fear doesn’t have to be justified or even in any way rational. A cop simply has to state that they were afraid and it’s up to the prosecution to somehow prove that this heroic, fearless defender of the public was not in fact afraid for no good reason.

Plus, the media always does their part for the home team helping to glorify the heroic cop and demonizing the victim. Regardless of the circumstances or what you can see with your lying eyes on a video it’s always portrayed as a “tragic mistake” or that victim’s fault. Then they build up sympathy for the killer cops by telling you how much they have already suffered by losing their job and feeling really bad about what they did (oftentimes in spite of evidence to the contrary).

Of course, anyone else charged with a crime generally also ends ups being fired and rarely has the unwavering support of a police union to cushion that blow. yet, nobody says they should just walk free based on that “hardship.” Not to mention the deadly consequences of those officers’ actions inflicted upon those they kill and their families afterwards.

I’ve warned cops and their cult of followers in the past, and in spite of the fact I know there’s pretty much zero chance they will listen, I’ll warn them again: accountability is something you should be seeking for your own sake, as well as for the sake of common decency and there are consequences when you actively work to prevent it.

No justice, no peace” isn’t always just a catchy little slogan to be chanted.

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