Greenwood, MO – The police chief of Greenwood resigned on May 29 amidst accusations he had brutally beaten a man who had just tried to drown his own baby girl.
The incident occurred on Dec. 29, 2018 after 29-year-old Jonathon Stephen Zicarelli showed up at the Greenwood Police Department and made a confession.
He told officers that he had tried to drown his six-month-old daughter in an icy retention pond, the Kansas City Star reported.
Greenwood Police Chief Greg Hallgrimson and another officer raced to the pond the man had indicated and found the baby girl floating face up, unconscious.
They pulled her from the water, undressed her, and wrapped her up in the police chief’s shirt to warm her, the Kansas City Star reported.
Then they took lifesaving measures as they waited for medics to arrive.
The baby was transported to the hospital and treated for severe hypothermia, among other injuries, the Kansas City Star reported.
It was estimated that the baby had been in the water for about 10 minutes and her survival has been called a miracle.
Afterwards, the chief went back to the police station and placed the baby’s father under arrest, the Kansas City Star reported.
Zicarelli’s attorney has alleged that Chief Hallgrimson used excessive force when he was arresting her client.
Susan Dill told the Kansas City Star that there is bodycam from another officer that showed the police chief grabbed Zicarelli by the throat, threw him to the floor, and punched him in the face.
Dill said that Chief Hallgrimson sat on Zicarelli’s chest and told the father “You deserve to die” as he beat him.
She said the police chief had to be pulled off Zicarelli to end the assault.
Dill said her client had suffered injuries to his face and jaw, the Kansas City Star reported.
The bodycam video has not been released to the public and the attorney’s account of the incident has not been confirmed, the Kansas City Star reported.
Dill said the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had visited her client in his jail cell to explore a possible criminal civil rights violation.
Chief Hallgrimson has been on administrative leave since the incident, but he has not been charged in connection with the incident thus far, the Kansas City Star reported.
Zicarelli has pleaded not guilty to charges of domestic assault and abuse or neglect of a child and is scheduled for trial in December.
Court documents showed that he told police that he had planned to kill his six-month-old daughter for more than 24 hours after he had “bad thoughts,” the Kansas City Star reported.
Zicarelli told officers that he was stressed out by the holidays and trying to support his family, and that he was trying to make things easier for his wife by killing their baby.
Dill has said that her client was suffering from mental health problems when he tried to drown his daughter, the Kansas City Star reported.
The city of Greenwood released a statement online that said the suburb of about 5,000 people’s police department, located 20 miles southeast of Kansas City, would continue under the leadership of Acting Police Chief Lamont Tatum.
The statement wished former Chief Hallgrimson well and said an application process for his replacement would begin soon.
Hallgrimson’s severance agreement with the city showed that he would be receiving a check for $6,500 from Greenwood, the Kansas City Star reported.
Residents of Greenwood were dismayed by the turn of events and have put on a very public show of support for their former police chief with yard signs and banners.
There is also a GoFundMe account set up to help with his legal fees.