Greenwood, MO – Federal investigators are working to determine whether or not the Greenwood police chief used excessive force against a man who told police he tried to drown his six-month-old daughter in a pond in December.
Investigators believe that 28-year-old Jonathon Stephen Zicarelli’s child had been in the water for approximately 10 minutes before he went to the Greenwood Police Department on Dec. 17, 2018, and flatly confessed to her murder, The Kansas City Star reported.
“There was no emotion whatsoever,” Greenwood Police Lieutenant Aaron Fordham recalled, adding that Zicarelli was positive that the little girl was dead.
Greenwood Police Chief Greg Hallgrimson and Corporal Tom Calhoun immediately rushed out to the icy pond, where they spotted the unconscious baby floating face-up in the water.
Still clad in his uniform, boots, and vest, Cpl. Calhoun waded into the thigh-deep water until he reached her lifeless body.
Her lungs were filled with water, and her wide-open eyes were black and muddy, he said.
Cpl. Calhoun rushed the little girl to the shore, where they cleared grass and water from her mouth.
They began administering CPR on the bank, and the baby miraculously began breathing again just moments later.
They took off her wet clothing and swaddled her in Chief Hallgrimson’s shirt until emergency medical personnel arrived to take her to the hospital.
“There was someone watching over that child today,” Lt. Fordham told The Kansas City Star at the time.
She was treated for severe hypothermia, but was in stable condition later that afternoon, he said.
Zicarelli later told investigators that in the 24 hours prior to the attack, he went down to the water three times to build up the nerve to drown his daughter, according to court documents.
He said he was stressed by the demands of the holiday season, and that he wanted to make life easier for his wife, all of which led to him having “bad thoughts.”
Zicarelli was arrested for first-degree assault, and remains in jail on $500,000 bond.
Federal investigators met with him there on Friday, his attorney, Tom Porto, told The Kansas City Star.
“I can confirm that the FBI was at the Jackson County jail on Friday investigating a possible criminal civil rights violation committed against Mr. Zicarelli by the Police Chief of Greenwood,” Porto said.
He did not provide details regarding how Chief Hallgrimson allegedly violated the attempted murderer’s civil rights.
Chief Hallgrimson was placed on administrative leave by the Greenwood Board of Aldermen on Dec. 26, 2018.
The city refused to disclose a reason for his suspension, and said it was a personnel matter, The Kansas City Star reported.
His attorney has told him not to discuss the case at this time, Chief Hallgrimson told the paper on Monday.
Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker requested the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) assistance per a 2015 memorandum of understanding (MOU) agreement, she said.
“The MOU that we have was triggered on this case,” Peters Baker confirmed. “The MOU is when we have use of force incidents in order to review that we all notify each and then figure out what is the right path and who has the better case, if there is a case and who should proceed. Everybody is doing a review.”
The investigation is ongoing, and she has not been presented with a case for possible criminal charges, she said.
The FBI is staying tight-lipped regarding the investigation.
“We have been in contact with the relevant law enforcement agencies, however we neither confirm nor deny the existence of an investigation,” FBI spokesperson Bridget Patton told The Kansas City Star.