Missouri police chief on leave amid use of force inquiry

February 5, 2019 GMT

GREENWOOD, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri police chief is on administrative leave amid allegations that he used excessive force against a father accused of trying to drown his 6-month-old daughter in a pond.

FBI investigators visited the baby’s father, Jonathon Stephen Zicarelli, on Friday in the Jackson County Jail, where he’s being held on an assault charge, according to one of Zicarelli’s attorneys, Tom Porto. Porto said the investigation is focused on Greenwood Police Chief Greg Hallgrimson, who’s been on leave since Dec. 26, about a week after Zicarelli’s daughter was rescued, The Kansas City Star reports .


Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said she requested an investigation, which she said was ongoing. She said no case has been presented to her office for criminal charges. FBI spokeswoman Bridget Patton said the agency was made aware of the allegation, but said she couldn’t confirm or deny the existence of an investigation.

According to charging documents, Zicarelli arrived at the Greenwood Police Department on Dec. 17 and told officers he had tried to drown his daughter.

Hallgrimson and another officer then rushed to the icy retention pond on the west side of Greenwood. Hallgrimson and Cpl. Tom Calhoun found the infant unconscious, floating face up in the pond. Calhoun waded into the thigh-deep water and retrieved the child, who was treated for severe hypothermia.

Court records say Zicarelli told investigators he had been planning to kill his daughter for more than 24 hours after having “bad thoughts.” The 28-year-old said he wanted to make things easier for his wife. He said he was stressed by the holidays and by trying to provide for his family.

Hallgrimson said Monday that his attorney told him not to discuss the matter. Greenwood City Clerk Dot Watkins said the reasons why the chief was placed on leave are personnel matters and can’t be released.


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