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Utah Police Officer in Controversial Nurse Arrest Video Fired

Detective Jeff Payne plans to appeal the decision.

Utah police detective Jeff Payne, who made headlines for arresting a nurse when she refused to allow a blood draw on a patient, was fired on Tuesday.

The announcement followed an internal investigation by the Salt Lake City Police Department into Payne’s conduct during the July incident, videos of which (shown below) gained national attention.

In a disciplinary letter obtained by the Associated Press, Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown said Payne violated the department’s policies and described his behavior as “inappropriate, unreasonable, unwarranted, discourteous, [and] disrespectful.”

“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,” Brown wrote in the letter.

Chief Brown has also demoted Salt Lake Lieutenant James Tracy, Payne’s former supervisor, to an officer position. Lt. Tracy ordered the nurse’s arrest, which Brown said was an impulsive, ill-informed decision.

“Your lack of judgment and leadership in this matter is unacceptable, and as a result, I no longer believe that you can retain a leadership position in the department,” Brown said.

Both officers have five business days to appeal the decisions by the chief. Payne’s attorney said he will appeal the firing, arguing that Chief Brown’s decision was overly harsh and that Payne would still be employed if footage of the incident hadn’t gotten so much attention, according to CBS News.

The arrest was caught on a body camera (the footage of which is shown below) and the University of Utah Hospital surveillance cameras.

Footage shows nurse Alex Wubbels explaining a hospital policy to the officers that forbids them from drawing blood from an injured patient without a warrant or formal consent.

The patient, an off-duty reserve Idaho police officer who’d been hit by another driver that was fleeing police, was not suspected of any wrongdoing.

Nurse Wubbels is seen in the videos being taken outside and handcuffed. Wubbels was never charged and the Salt Lake Police Department later apologized for the incident.

About the Author

Contact:

Zach Winn is a journalist living in the Boston area. He was previously a reporter for Wicked Local and graduated from Keene State College in 2014, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in journalism and minoring in political science.

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3 responses to “Utah Police Officer in Controversial Nurse Arrest Video Fired”

  1. Janet M. Butkus says:

    She should sue them for all they are worth…

  2. Rita McKinney says:

    No mention of the off-duty cop who was unconscious appreciated the nurse’s situation… just saying.

  3. I served the members of my community as a law enforcement officer for 34 years and try as I might, I cannot fathom for the life of me upon what legal basis the Lieutenant and Detective felt they were justified in arresting the nurse. Their legal authority outside the hospital becomes diminished significantly inside the hospital once they enter it in an official capacity. Those limitations were created under Federal Law to prevent exactly what the officers attempted to do. There were legal means at their disposal they could have used to obtain the evidence they sought. Battering a member of the hospital clinical staff who’s only objective in this case was to protect her patient’s rights under Federal Law and hospital policy, was not among them. Chief Brown is exactly correct and his actions absolutely appropriate under the circumstances within which he had to act, assuming his officers had been trained on how to appropriately act in circumstances like those in the hospital.

    Law Enforcement Officers are given an awesome responsibility when they are sworn to service to members of the public. And “to whom much is given, much is required”, Luke 12:48. They more often than not perform brilliantly and often heroically in an incredibly dangerous profession. But the performance of law enforcement is measurably diminished when their members don’t know the law. And in difficult times when they are unsure of the correct path forward, a person of reasonable caution would know to stop and ask someone who does rather than just blunder through it for a mere approximation of correctness. When that happens, the rest of the ranks of law enforcement get painted with that same brush by some members of the media and an unknowing public and all of law enforcement get to wear a black eye for a while they don’t deserve.

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