KANSAS CITY, Miss. – A police chief in Missouri has stepped down from his role after allegedly striking a suspect who was had attempted to drown a baby girl.
According to reports, Greg Hallgrimson had been on administrative leave since December 26, 2018, following the incident. He officially quit his position as the Greenwood police chief on May 29.
The story goes like this:
Hallgrimson and a fellow officer responded to an icy pond on December 17 after Jonathon Stephen Zicarelli told authorities he had tried to drown his 6-month-old daughter. When they got there, they found the child floating face up in the freezing water, unresponsive.
Chief Hallgrimson reportedly removed the infant’s wet clothes and used his own shirt to provide any bit of warmth for the child.
There's no such thing as using excessive force against a man trying to drown his own 6-year-old daughter in a pond. The fact the man lived might actually indicate inadequate force was applied. https://t.co/PoE1d7Yev7
— Palm Beach Paul (@PBPLife) June 8, 2019
She was recovered from the pond and rushed to a local hospital where she was treated for severe hypothermia. Authorities say she had been in the water for nearly 10 minutes.
Zicarelli was taken into custody and brought to the local department. Video footage allegedly then shows Hallgrimson attacking Zicarelli, striking him multiple times. Reports noted that Zicarelli was handcuffed when the alleged beating took place.
The Kansas City Star published that 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, separately said they could not confirm or deny the existence of an investigation.
Reports indicated that the chief had to be pulled off of the suspect. Video footage of the alleged attack has not yet been released to the public.
Zicarelli’s attorney Susan Dill said that Hallgrimson told the defendant, “you deserve to die,” during the altercation.
Zicarelli has since pleaded not guilty to charges of domestic assault and abuse or neglect of a child. He allegedly told investigators he had been planning on killing his daughter for over 24 hours. Zicarelli said that he had “bad thoughts,” and that he felt pressure because of the holidays, charging documents said. Dill noted that Zicarelli suffered from mental health problems.
She said that if the arresting officers had known of Zicarelli’s issues, they might have treated the situation differently.
“I think if they understood what my client was going through mentally and emotionally that they might have more compassion for him,” Dill said.
“I know many police officers, myself included that would be tempted to deck this killer.” – Retired Sergeant
Hallgrimson hasn’t been hit with any criminal charges as of yet but is being investigated for the excessive force claims. Zicarelli is set to appear in court in December.
Other officers from across the country have weighed in about the situation, most admitting that it would be incredibly difficult to refrain from lashing out at someone who could commit such an atrocious crime against a defenseless child.