A former Missouri police chief who rescued a 6-month-old girl in an icy pond last year is accused of attacking a handcuffed man and was indicted on federal charges on Wednesday, prosecutors said.
Greg Hallgrimson, 50, of Kansas City, was charged with violating the man's civil rights. His lawyer said he looks forward to fighting the charge.
The indictment identifies the man only as “J.Z.” Hallgrimson had previously been accused of using excessive force against Jonathon Zicarelli.
Zicarelli, 29, walked into a police station last December-- the same day as the alleged attack-- and allegedly told officers he had just drowned his then 6-month-old daughter in a nearby pond.
Hallgrimson and another officer rushed to the location, pulled the infant out of the water, performed CPR and warmed her up until she started breathing. She was rushed to the hospital where she was treated for severe hypothermia.
Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker asked the Missouri Highway Patrol in February to conduct an investigation into what happened to Zicarelli after he was placed under arrest and taken back to the police station. FBI investigators visited Zicarelli at the Jackson County jail, where he was found suffering from lacerations to his face and an injury to his jaw, the Star reported.
Footage from a body camera worn by another officer at the station allegedly shows Hallgrimson grab Zicarelli by the throat while his hands were cuffed behind his back and throw him to ground. He then punches the man in the face and sits on his chest, telling him, “You deserve to die,” before other officers pulled the chief away, Zicarelli’s former attorney, Susan Dill, told the Star in June. The video has not been released to the public.
“Any officer who abuses their authority will be held accountable for violating the Constitution they are sworn to uphold,” U.S. Attorney Timothy Garrison told the Kansas City Star. “Nobody is above the law.”
Hallgrimson was the chief of the Greenwood Police Department, which serves the suburb about 20 miles southeast of Kansas City. He resigned in June.
Prosecutors have charged Zicarelli with first-degree domestic assault. According to the charging documents, Zicarelli told investigators that he plotted for more than 24 hours to kill his daughter because he wanted to make things easier for his wife. He also allegedly said he was stressed by the holidays and trying to provide for his family. He said he walked down to the water three times before deciding to place the child in the water and watch her sink.
Police found the unconscious baby floating face up, lethargic and her skin a lifeless color, The Star reported. She had mud in her eye and grass and water in her mouth, and her lungs were full of water. Officers estimate she had been in the pond for more than 10 minutes.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.