A Leadwood, Missouri, police officer has resigned after being charged with felony child abuse, officials said earlier this week.
KMOV News reports 38-year-old Jay Bellis, of nearby Farmington, is facing a single count of felony abuse stemming from a February 24 incident in which he allegedly threw a 4-year-old boy against a wall.
Police in Farmington allege Bellis lost his temper with the child after learning the boy had misbehaved at daycare. Investigators claim Bellis threw the child into a wall, causing the boy to strike his head on a kitchen cabinet. Police also claim Bellis pulled the child by his ear, scratching it and causing it to bleed.
According to the Park Hills Daily Journal, the St. Francois County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office charged Bellis with the Class C felony Tuesday.
Leadwood Police Chief Bill Whitehead told the Daily Journal that Bellis turned in his badge the same day.
Whitehead said he had just rehired Bellis to the police force in early March. His first day on the job was March 13.
Bellis previously worked as a Leadwood officer from 2011 until the fall of 2014. He also worked for the St. Francois County Sheriff's Department from March 2014 to Feb. 25, 2015.
Whitehead said he hired Bellis back as a full-time officer and he was quickly promoted to sergeant.
“Everyone that was in touch with Jay really liked the man,” he told the Daily Journal.
“What I’m trying to do is put together a corps of good reliable officers and Jay Bellis was a good and reliable officer,” he added.
Whitehead said a background check on Bellis was performed and that Bellis had been upfront with him about the pending case. Whitehead said Bellis told him he had “disciplined his child” and the incident “was being investigated.”
Bellis has been jailed on $50,000 bond, according to The Associated Press.
Photo Credit: Park Hills Daily Journal