Officer agrees to guilty plea
Park City police officer Nick Kingery and Wasatch County prosecutors have negotiated an agreement in which the veteran officer will plead guilty to a disorderly conduct infraction for throwing a flashlight at a car in January.
Ryan Hancey, Kingery’s attorney, outlined the deal in an interview with The Park Record on Tuesday and Thomas Low, the Wasatch County attorney, confirmed the agreement.
Hancey said Kingery’s plea will be held in abeyance, which allows the infraction to be dismissed in six months if Kingery complies with the terms of the agreement.
"The bottom line is my understanding is both parties are satisfied," Hancey said about Kingery and the prosecution.
Infractions are punishable by a $750 fine plus surcharges but they do not carry jail time.
Wasatch County handled the case instead of the Summit County Attorney’s Office because prosecutors in Summit County frequently work with Kingery, creating a conflict of interest, Summit County Attorney David Brickey has said.
Low said on Tuesday morning that he expected to file an ‘information’ document in Summit County Justice Court later that day. Such filings typically outline the details of a case against a defendant.
Low said a March 28 court appearance is set for Kingery and he expects that the officer will plead guilty on that date.
Kingery threw his flashlight through the rear window of an Audi A4 on Jan. 11 in an attempt to stop the driver. Kingery was on the 600 block of Main Street at about 11 p.m. assisting a tow truck removing a vehicle to allow snowplows to pass.
Rodney Badger, a heart doctor who splits time between Park City and Provo, was driving south on Main Street with his son after a concert when the flashlight smashed through the window. Nobody was injured.
Afterward, the Police Department said the street was closed to traffic at the intersection of Main Street and Heber Avenue and Badger allegedly failed to obey the roadblock. Badger has said he did not realize the road was closed and has said the roadblock was not marked. Badger was not ticketed.
Police Chief Lloyd Evans suspended Kingery from Feb. 2 until Feb. 10, finding that Kingery violated Police Department rules. Kingery has been assigned to desk duties since returning from the suspension.
Kingery has not returned repeated phone calls seeking comment.
Evans said Tuesday he had not received word of the agreement from official sources and made few comments about the case. He said he could not answer when Kingery would return to patrols.
But Evans said the agreement with prosecutors will not result in Kingery’s firing.
"An infraction is not something that would cause an officer to lose his job," Evans said.
Low said he decided on the infraction rather than a more serious count because Kingery did not threaten Badger with violence.
"It really fits what he did," Low said, adding, "It reflects the severity of the crime and the intent of the officer."
Low said he did not interview Kingery during his investigation but talked to Hancey and the Badgers.
Badger called the agreement "appropriate" and said the incident is "embarrassing" to Kingery and is a "blow to his career." Badger said he spoke by telephone to Kingery in mid-February.
"I accept his apology," Badger said, adding that people have told him since the incident that Kingery is a good police officer.
Badger said it cost between $400 and $500 to repair the car and City Hall paid the bill. Although Badger is conciliatory, saying he is "sympathetic" to Kingery, he also called the officer’s actions "dangerous."
"I think it’s important to protect the next citizen so this doesn’t happen again," he said, adding, "It was a lethal weapon thrown at the back of my head as I was driving a vehicle."
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