A Utah police chief has fired an officer who was caught on video forcibly arresting a nurse after she refused to draw blood on an unconscious patient due to hospital protocol.
The controversial arrest was caught on video in September at University Hospital in Salt Lake City.
It shows nurse, Alex Wubbels calmly explaining to Salt Lake Detective Jeff Payne that she can’t draw blood on a patient who had been injured in a car accident. She explained that a patient is required to give consent for a blood sample or be under arrest. Otherwise, police need a warrant, she said.
Payne then becomes visibly enraged and cuffs Wubbles as she screams.
According to the Associated Press, “Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown made the decision to fire Detective Jeff Payne after an internal investigation found he violated department policies when he arrested nurse Alex Wubbels and dragged her screaming from the hospital, department spokesman Sgt. Brandon Shearer said.”
Chief Brown wrote a disciplinary letter saying in part, “You demonstrated extremely poor professional judgment (especially for an officer with 27 years of experience), which calls into question your ability to effectively serve the public and the department.”
Payne’s supervisor, Lt. James Tracy, was demoted to officer because he ordered Payne to arrest Wubbels without full understanding of the situation and of the law.
Payne was placed on paid leave days after the video of the incident surfaced.
— SLC Police Dept. (@slcpd) September 1, 2017
Wednesday, Wubbels’ attorney, Karra Porter, applauded Chief Brown for taking disciplinary action and hopes that this incident shines a light on improper police behavior.
Porter and her client emphasized the significance of body cameras. “Without the body camera footage, it would have been a she-said, they-said…Alex feels very strongly that her story would have never been told if it weren’t for the body camera footage,” the Associated Press reports.
Payne was also fired from a part-time job as a paramedic.
According to the Associated Press, “Attorney Greg Skordas, who represents Payne, said his client plans to appeal a firing he considers unfair and over the top. Skordas said Payne would still be employed if the body camera footage hadn’t generated so much attention and blown the events out of proportion.”