Ex-Missouri police chief pleads guilty to beating man who allegedly tried to drown baby
Greg Hallgrimson, former Greenwood police chief, has pleaded guilty to assaulting a handcuffed man held at a police station for allegedly trying to drown his own young daughter in an icy pond.
Hallgrimson, 51, pleaded guilty Wednesday morning in the Western District of Missouri, according to court records. He was charged by a federal grand jury of violating the civil rights of a man who is referred to as "J.Z." in court documents. was identified. by throwing him to the ground and slapping him in the face while being held in a chair.
Robin Fowler, the former chief executive's attorney, told The Star that his plea was the next step in solving the case and "moving his life forward".
"He believes the conditions for bringing the lawsuit are fair and hopes the court will consider them," Fowler said in a statement.
An investigation into excessive violence against Hallgrimson opened after the former senior police officer was accused of beating Jonathan Stephen Zicarelli, who showed up at the Greenwood Police Department in December 2018 and told police he killed his young daughter. Hallgrimson and another officer rushed to an icy retention basin and found an unconscious toddler floating face up, his lungs filled with water.
Hallgrimson and the other officer removed the child's wet clothes and wrapped him in the boss's shirt to warm her body. Paramedics came and resuscitated the child and took him to a hospital.
The child was being treated for severe hypothermia. Jackson County prosecutors filed charges of assault against Zicarelli later that day.
According to court records, Zicarelli told investigators he had planned to kill his daughter for more than 24 hours after having "bad thoughts". He said he wanted to make it easier for his wife. He said he was stressed out from the holidays and trying to provide for his family.
Hallgrimson was later accused of using excessive force against Zicarelli at the police station. A former Zicarelli attorney, Susan Dill, previously told The Star that Hallgrimson was caught on video grabbing Zicarelli by the throat, knocking him to the ground and slapping him in the face.
According to Dill, the police chief said to Zicarelli: "You deserve to die."
Hallgrimson was taken on administrative leave by the Greenwoods Board of Aldermen shortly after the allegations were made public. He resigned in May 2019.
Zicarelli, meanwhile, remains in Jackson County Jail on pending domestic assault and child abuse charges.
The star's Luke Nozicka contributed to this report.
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