A shocking video has been released of a Utah nurse being handcuffed and arrested for refusing an unconstitutional order by an officer.
Body camera footage showed Detective Jeff Payne arresting University of Utah nurse Alex Wubbels because she would not allow him to draw blood from an unconscious patient without a warrant, the Deseret News reported.
Wubbels showed the video at a press conference she held with her attorney on Thursday calling for better training of police officers.
The confrontation occurred on the night of July 26, according to the Deseret News:
The incident began when a truck driver was severely burned in a head-on crash with a vehicle that was fleeing from police in Cache County and crossed into on-coming traffic. The driver of the fleeing vehicle was killed.
The truck driver was sedated and in a comatose state when he arrived at the hospital.
Payne, a veteran Salt Lake police officer, was sent to the hospital by another police agency to get vials of blood for the investigation. But because the patient was not a suspect in the crash nor faced potential criminal charges, because he was unconscious and unable to give consent, and because the officer did not have a warrant, Wubbels — one of the supervisors that night — did not allow him to draw blood.
In the nearly 20-minute footage captured on the body camera of another officer, Wubbels could be seen patiently explaining to Payne that he was not allowed to draw the blood. A charge nurse at University Hospital’s Burn Unit, Wubbels even reached out to her supervisors and other hospital staff to confirm the policy as Payne appeared to grow increasingly impatient.
“The patient can’t consent, he’s told me repeatedly that he doesn’t have a warrant, and the patient is not under arrest,” she said with her supervisor on speakerphone. “So I’m just trying to do what I’m supposed to do, that’s all.”
“So I take it without those in place, I’m not going to get blood,” Payne said.
“Why are you blaming the messenger,” the supervisor can be heard asking on the phone as Payne responds, “She’s the one that has told me no.”
“Sir, you’re making a huge mistake because you’re threatening a nurse,” the supervisor can be heard saying over the phone.
This was the last straw for Payne as he tried to smack the phone out of Wubbels’ hand and proceeded to drag her out of the building and arrest her.
“Help! Help me! Stop! You’re assaulting me! Stop! I’ve done nothing wrong! This is crazy!” Wubbels screamed as Payne shoved her through the automatic doors outside of the building. “Why is he so angry?”
Payne ignored hospital officials telling him to stop, as he pushed the nurse against a wall, pulled her arms behind her back and handcuffed her.
“I can’t believe this! What is happening?” Wubbels cried as Payne set her in the front seat of his unmarked car. She remained there for about 20 minutes before being released and was never officially charged with any crime.
She held the press conference on Thursday to share the information, and though Wubbels has not filed any civil action against the police department, she was not ruling it out.
“I think right now, I believe in the goodness of society. I want to see people do the right thing first and I want to see this be a civil discourse. And if that’s not something that’s going to happen and there is refusal to acknowledge the need for growth and the need for re-education, then we will likely be forced to take that type of step. But people need to know that this is out there,” she told the Deseret News.
“I just feel betrayed, I feel angry. I feel a lot of things. And I am still confused. I’m a health care worker. The only job I have is to keep my patients safe. A blood draw, it just gets thrown around there like it’s some simple thing. But blood is your blood. That’s your property. And when a patient comes in a critical state, that blood is extremely important and I don’t take it lightly,” she said.
Wubbels’ attorney, Karra Porter, explained Payne’s argument that he was allowed to draw blood through a process known as “implied consent,” was based on a law that was changed years ago.
“The law is well-established. And it’s not what we were hearing in the video,” Porter said. “I don’t know what was driving this situation.”
According to Salt Lake Police Sgt. Brandon Shearer, Chief Mike Brown said the video was “very alarming” after viewing it. Payne was suspended from the blood draw program but was still on active duty with the department as an active internal investigation is underway, Shearer said, according to the Deseret News.
Wubbels, who competed in alpine skiing in the 1998 and 2002 Winter Olympics, was asked what she thought should happen to Payne.
“I think he needs some serious training,” she said.
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