Utah Nurse Who Was Arrested for Doing Her Job Receives a Settlement

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November 01, 2017Nov 01, 2017

On July 26th, officers from Salt Lake City forcibly arrested a nurse who refused to draw blood without a warrant. In the video, which went viral, you can see the nurse resist arrest before being manhandled by Detective Jeff Payne.

In October, the Salt Lake City Police Department announced they had fired the officer responsible for the arrest. 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.”

https://twitter.com/AP/status/925498713430220800

On October 31st, Alex Wubbels, the Utah nurse, reached a $500,000 settlement, according to The Associated Press.

"An attorney for Alex Wubbels said that the nurse plans to put a portion of the settlement toward a new initiative to help others pay for video clips from police body cameras," said The Hill.

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 her settlement? Let us know in the comments. In other news, a famous singer unexpectedly died in his sleep at 65. 

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