Police Officer Who Arrested Utah Nurse Learns His Fate with Police Force

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October 11, 2017Oct 11, 2017

During the summer, on July 26th, a Salt Lake City nurse was forcibly arrested by a police officer. In the viral video, the nurse refused to draw blood from an unconscious patient without a warrant.

The officer reacted violently when she refused. He handcuffed her and dragged her out of the hospital.

On Tuesday, the Salt Lake City Police Department announced they had fired the officer responsible for the arrest, Detective Jeff Payne. They reached the decision after an internal investigation, which “found he violated department policy when he arrested University of Utah Hospital nurse Alex Wubbels on July 26,” reported ABC News.

"I have lost faith and confidence in your ability to continue to serve as a member of the Salt Lake City Police Department," Salt Lake Police Chief Mike Brown wrote in a letter notifying Payne of the termination.

The Police Chief continued, “I am deeply troubled by your lack of sound, professional judgment and your discourteous, disrespectful and unwarranted behavior, which unnecessarily escalated a situation that could and should have been resolved in a manner far different from the course of action you chose to pursue.”

In an interview with ABC News, Wubbels described the harrowing experience. She detailed the way that Payne chose to handle the situation.

When Wubbels refused to draw blood from the patient unless he was under arrest or there was a police warrant, Payne grew very angry. In the face of his anger, Wubbels stood her ground, defending the hospital's policy, which is supported by a 2016 Supreme Court ruling citing that warrantless blood draws are a direct violation of the Fourth Amendment, explained ABC.

"I either go away with blood in vials or body in tow. That's my only choices. I'm going to follow my boss's instructions," Payne is heard saying in the bodycam video.

"I just said, 'Look, I'm sorry, we can't let you do this at this time,'" Wubbels told ABC News in the interview. “And [Payne] just got up and said, 'You're not sorry!'"

"Right then he was on this warpath," she added.

Payne shouted, “We're done!" and dragged Wubbels outside as she wailed.

"I think I was able to keep my cool pretty well because I knew I was in a tough situation," she said, adding that she continued to call Payne "Sir" even as he manhandled her.

Payne wasn’t the only officer involved to be disciplined. His supervisor, James Tracy, was demoted two ranks. He was a lieutenant but he is now at the rank of police officer.

“Brown said Tracy made an impulsive decision when he ordered Payne to arrest Wubbels without ‘fully understanding the nature of the situation and, as such, violated policy,’” reported ABC News.

Greg Skordas, Payne’s attorney, said his client plans to appeal the firing. He calls the firing unfair and “over the top.” His lawyer said Payne would still be employed if the body cam footage hadn’t gone viral.

Do you agree with the firing? Let us know in the comments. In other news, President Trump just spoke out against Roger Goodell's NFL decision. Find out what he had to say. 

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