HIGHLANDVILLE, Mo. — More fallout in the small town of Highlandville, where former Police Chief Warren Hagar filed a federal lawsuit against the city today, June 13.
The lawsuit cites accusations Hagar first brought to KOLR 10 Investigates in December 2022. Hagar’s home burned down in a fire the day after our report aired. The Missouri Fire Marshal’s office investigated, but couldn’t determine a cause. Investigators said they could not rule out the possibility that the fire was set intentionally.
The lawsuit alleges the city violated Hagar’s First Amendment rights and then retaliated against him for speaking to the media about his concerns that an officer mishandled a domestic assault call and Mayor Clint Ellingsworth improperly trained the officer.
Court documents also lay out a number of other accusations, including that the city gave Hagar inadequate notice before firing him in February. The lawsuit further accuses Mayor Ellingsworth of misusing $200,000 in COVID-19 relief funding and breaking into a lockbox with confidential records.
Hagar is seeking money for back-wages, lost benefits, emotional distress, and damage to his reputation.
Hagar’s attorney declined to interview this afternoon. Mayor Ellingsworth has not returned KOLR 10 Investigates’ calls for comment at the time of publication.