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.