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Ex-Missouri police chief indicted, accused of beating man after rescuing baby in pond

Luke Nozicka, The Kansas City Star on

Published in News & Features

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The former police chief of Greenwood, Missouri, who resigned earlier this year, was indicted by a federal grand jury Wednesday, accused of violating the civil rights of a man he allegedly assaulted while handcuffed, according to prosecutors.

Greg Hallgrimson, 50, of Kansas City, was charged in a one-count indictment, prosecutors in the Western District of Missouri said. The indictment alleges he deprived a person identified as "J.Z." of his rights to be free from unreasonable seizure.

The indictment does not name the person, but Hallgrimson had previously been accused of using excessive force against a suspect named Jonathon Zicarelli. The indictment alleges the assault came on the same day as the incident with Zicarelli.

The indictment alleges Hallgrimson struck J.Z. in the face with his fist while he was not posing a threat, according to prosecutors. J.Z. had been restrained and was sitting in a chair before Hallgrimson threw him to the ground, according to court records.

U.S. Attorney Timothy Garrison said while law enforcement officers serve the public each day, "nobody is above the law."

"Any officer who abuses their authority will be held accountable for violating the Constitution they are sworn to uphold," Garrison said.

 

Hallgrimson's attorney, Robin Fowler, said Hallgrimson planned to plead not guilty. He will exercise his right to a jury trial, he said.

"He looks forward to all the facts being presented in court," Fowler said, "and has confidence that justice will be done."

In February, Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker asked the Missouri Highway Patrol to investigate Hallgrimson's possible role in what happened to Zicarelli, now 29, after he showed up Dec. 17 at the Greenwood Police Department and said he tried to kill his infant daughter.

That day, Zicarelli told officers he placed his daughter in a pond, police said. Hallgrimson and another officer rushed to the icy retention pond on the west side of Greenwood, a suburb of about 5,000 people 20 miles southeast of Kansas City.

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