Chief who helped save baby resigns amid use of force inquiry

June 7, 2019 GMT

GREENWOOD, Mo. (AP) — A Kansas City-area police chief has resigned after he was accused of using excessive force against a father charged with trying to drown his 6-month-old daughter in a pond.

Greg Hallgrimson, who had been on administrative leave since Dec. 26 , quit May 29 as the Greenwood police chief, the Kansas City Star reported.

Hallgrimson and another officer rushed to the icy pond Dec. 17 after Jonathon Stephen Zicarelli said he had tried to drown his daughter, according to charging documents. They found the infant floating face up in the on the west side of Greenwood, a suburb of roughly 5,000 people 20 miles (32 kilometers) southeast of Kansas City. She was treated for severe hypothermia.


Authorities said the child was likely in the water for 10 minutes.

The officers arrested Zicarelli and took him to the police station. It was there that the other officer’s body camera captured video of the former chief punching the father.

Susan Dill, Zicarelli’s defense attorney, said Hallgrimson told Zicarelli: “You deserve to die.”

The chief had to be pulled off of Zicarelli, who suffered cuts to his face and injury to his jaw, Dill noted.

Hallgrimson hasn’t been charged, and the video hasn’t been released.

The Jackson County prosecutor subsequently requested an investigation, and FBI investigators visited Zicarelli at the Jackson County jail to investigate whether his civil rights were violated. The FBI was still investigating Hallgrimson, Dill said.

Dixon Land, a spokeswoman for the FBI in Kansas City, and Don Ledford, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Western District of Missouri, has separately declined to confirm or deny the existence of an investigation.

Hallgrimson’s attorney also declined to comment.

Zicarelli has pleaded not guilty to charges of domestic assault and abuse or neglect of a child. He told investigators he had been planning to kill his daughter for over 24 hours after he had “bad thoughts,” and that he felt pressure because of the holidays, charging documents said. Dill said Zicarelli had mental health problems.

He is scheduled to go to trial in December.


Information from: The Kansas City Star, http://www.kcstar.com