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.

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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.

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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.

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Hagar’s attorney declined to interview this afternoon. Mayor Ellingsworth has not returned KOLR 10 Investigates’ calls for comment at the time of publication.