Former Greenwood police chief indicted for allegedly violating civil rights of suspect
GREENWOOD, Mo. — A grand jury has indicted the former Greenwood police chief, accusing him of violating a suspect’s civil rights when he handcuffed, restrained and allegedly assaulted the man.
Greg Hallgrimson resigned from his position in June, which came 5 months after he was placed on administrative leave because he was under separate investigations by the FBI and the Missouri State Highway Patrol.
The 50-year-old was placed on leave for allegedly striking someone at the police station in Greenwood, a suburb southeast of Kansas City.
Sources tell FOX4 it involved the case of Jonathon Zicarelli, who was taken into custody after allegedly trying to drown his 6-month-old daughter in a pond in December. Court documents announcing Hallgrimson’s indictment only identify the victim as “J.Z.”
Court documents say Zicarelli came to the station and told officers what he had done. Crews rushed to the pond to rescue the little girl who had been in the pond for about 10 minutes, and she miraculously survived.
After he was arrested at the police station, that’s when the chiefs’s alleged assault occurred.
Zicarelli was seated and had his hands cuffed behind his back, court records say. He was then allegedly thrown over a chair while Hallgrimson continued to beat him on the face and head.
Records say Zicarelli was deprived of his right to be free from unreasonable seizure, “which includes the right to be free from the unreasonable use of force by a person acting in his official capacity as a law enforcement officer.”
“Law enforcement officers serve the public every day with courage and integrity,” said Tim Garrison, U.S. Attorney for the Western Missouri District. “But nobody is above the law. Any officer who abuses their authority will be held accountable for violating the Constitution they are sworn to uphold.”
Zicarelli was charged with first-degree domestic assault and child abuse/neglect and is scheduled to go to trial in December.
Sara Hofeditz Christensen, an attorney for Zicarelli sent a statement to FOX4 on his behalf.
“Through their indictment, the federal grand jury is acknowledging that law enforcement officers are not exempt from following the law.
Even though it has taken almost a year for this criminal charge to be filed, it sends the message that vigilante justice is not acceptable.
Everyone is entitled to due process and we look forward to the process running its course. We are glad to see that action has been taken.
As Mr. Zicarelli‘s charges are still pending, we ask that the media and public respect his and his family‘s privacy.”