Utah Nurse Alex Wubbels Reaches $500K Settlement for Arrest Video

The nurse plans to donate part of the money to a local nurses union and to help people obtain body camera footage of incidents involving themselves.
Published: November 2, 2017

A Utah nurse has reached a settlement for $500,000 regarding her unlawful arrest after refusing to allow a police officer to illegally draw blood from a patient.

In July, University of Utah Hospital nurse Alex Wubbels wouldn’t let Salt Lake City detective Jeff Payne draw blood from a patient involved in a vehicular accident. Video footage released on August 31 shows Wubbels explaining hospital policy to the officer that forbids police from drawing blood from an injured patient without an arrest, a warrant, or formal consent from the patient.

The detective is seen trying to take a cell phone from Wubbels as she speaks with a supervisor. The video then cuts to the detective grabbing Wubbels and dragging her outside as she sobs and screams for help.

Wubbels was never charged and Payne was subsequently fired in October. Payne and another officer who was demoted plan to appeal the decision.

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Wubbels says she would be disappointed if the disciplinary decisions made by Salt Lake City Chief Mike Brown were to be overturned.

“The police have to police themselves. This is something I never would have expected to happen, but I’m also honored by the weight of it.”

Wubbels’ attorney, Karra Porter, says the settlement with Salt Lake City and the University of Utah covers all parties and no lawsuit will be filed as a result, reports the Salt Lake Tribune.

City spokesman Matthew Rojas says the cost of the settlement will be split evenly between the city and the university.

Wubbels will use a portion of the money to help people obtain body camera footage of incidents involving themselves. Porter says that her law firm, Christensen & Jensen, is also committed to providing free legal services to those looking to obtain body camera footage. Some money will also be donated to a local nurses union.

“We all deserve to know the truth and the truth comes when you see the actual raw footage and that’s what happened in my case,” says Wubbels. “No matter how truthful I was in telling my story, it was nothing compared to what people saw and the visceral reaction people experienced when watching the footage of the experience that I went through.”

Porter says Wubbels’ goals by filing a lawsuit were to change policy, to see accountability from those involved, to start a public discussion around the urgent need for body cameras and to help other nurses in the same situation as her, according to Fox 13.

Wubbels says she plans to “invoke and talk about further enhancements to employee safety throughout the university campus.”

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