The Times-Independent

Fired Moab officer regrets profanity used over police radio

Honored for bravery during fatal domestic violence incident

The former Moab Police officer who used an obscenity over his police radio to insult Assistant Police Chief Braydon Palmer and other officers on Sept. 28 said he regrets that lapse in judgment.

Ogden Police officer Nathan Lyday is laid to rest last year after he was gunned down by a domestic violence suspect. Photo courtesy of Ogden Police Department

“It was just a weak moment on my part,” said Everett Gist. “I wish I could take it back.”

He said the incident occurred right after he had been terminated. He and his father were cleaning out his patrol unit at his Spanish Valley home. “I had just been let go. I was told I was not a good fit,” said Everett.

He said Palmer and other officers were parked not far from his home, watching him. “They were staring at me,” he said “I felt like it was intimidation. I didn’t think it was appropriate, so I signed off on the radio. It was a stupid thing I did. I own that one.”

That Gist would be let go for not fitting in is stunning for a department that has seen its numbers of sworn officers shrink precipitously due to a rash of resignations. Refilling the ranks has been an arduous and largely unsuccessful effort.

Gist was hired earlier this year, and there is a strong likelihood his termination from Moab Police is related to his firing last year from Adult Parole & Probation. The department’s notice of intent informing him of his firing listed a host of racist social media posts dating from 2016 to 2020 in which he allegedly wrote disparaging commentary against Muslins and Islam, Native Americans and Hispanics. He suggested violence against undocumented immigrants and wrote, regarding critics of former President Donald Trump, that he “just wanted to punch them in the face.”

Gist rejects the notion that he’s a racist. He said he holds no ill will for people who are members of the races and religions he has insulted and threatened. “I have nothing against Muslims, Native Americans or Hispanics,” he said. “It’s the extremists I don’t like.”

When asked if Moab Police Chief Bret Edge was aware of his history with AP&P, Gist said he and his attorney explained his termination to the chief. Gist said the Utah Police Officers Standards and Training, POST, determined his status as a trained officer remained intact. He said, quoting Edge, “Well, if it’s good enough for POST, it’s good enough for me.”

Edge remains on leave and unavailable and City of Moab spokesperson Lisa Church said the city could not comment since it is a personnel issue.

But there is another side to Everett Gist, one that isn’t necessarily at odds with his political attitudes, but rather one that certainly unveils the duality of man. Before he was fired by AP&P, Gist was nominated for a Medal of Valor, a Medal of Merit, and received a purple heart after being wounded in May of 2020 during a domestic violence incident in Ogden that claimed the life of Ogden Police officer Nathan Lyday.

Gist’s account of what occurred differs slightly from media accounts, but his story largely corroborates the record. He also allowed The Times-Independent to view body camera footage of the fatal encounter, which shows him being shot and falling to the ground writhing in pain when he attempted to aid Lyday.

The shooter, John Benedict Coleman, 53, also died at the scene of the crime inside his home. Gist said it was later determined one of his shots killed Coleman. The newspaper could not verify his statement, but Gist certainly fired several rounds at Coleman when he was shot and wounded in the hand, arm and chest.

A neighbor’s doorbell camera shows Gist’s AP&P coworker drag him down the sidewalk away from Coleman’s home.

Lyday, 24, died at the scene. Gist was treated and released. “My wounds were not life-threatening,” he said.

Coleman argued with Lyday and Lyday’s partner, who arrived at the home after Coleman’s wife called 911 to report her husband beat her and threatened to murder her before hanging up.

Coleman was confrontational with officers and refused to step outside. He closed the door after Lyday asked him for his date of birth and seconds later he reopened the door and started firing an AR-15. Lyday’s partner returned fire and Gist and his AP&P partner also returned fire. Gist made his way toward the fallen Lyday when he was shot twice.

SWAT officers would later enter the home and remove the children inside. Coleman was dead.

While Gist received his Award of Merit and Purple Heart medals, he said AP&P terminated him for his social media activity before presenting him with the Medal of Valor for which he was nominated and approved.