Earlier this summer a police officer dragged Alex Wubbels, a nurse at the Utah Medical Center, out of the Emergency Room where she works. She was handcuffed and arrested for following hospital protocol and protecting the civil rights of her unconscious patient who was receiving treatment after a car accident.
Body camera footage of the incident showed Detective Jeff Payne dragging a crying nurse Wubbels out of Utah Medical Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. The footage leading up to the arrest showed Wubbels on the phone with someone from hospital administration confirming that she was following the prescribed course of action and telling Detective Payne that he needed a warrant to take blood from an unconscious patient without the patient’s consent. Payne responded that he would “leave with blood in vials or a body in tow.” He made good on his threat when he dragged Wubbels from the hospital.
After the arrest, both the hospital and the police department changed policies to prevent future incidents. The hospital no longer allows direct interaction between nurses and law enforcement. The police department placed Detective Payne on paid administrative leave while they conducted their investigation.
On Tuesday Salt Lake City Police Spokesman announced that after completing the internal investigation, Chief Mike Brown decided to terminate Detective Payne’s employment with the police department. Payne’s lawyer pointed to Payne’s 27-year history as a “decorated” officer and suggested that, in light of his career, termination for his conduct was not warranted.
In addition to his employment with the police department, Payne also worked part-time for an ambulance company as a paramedic. The president of that ambulance company also terminated Payne from his position as a paramedic with the company.
Nurse Alex Wubbels was not charged as a result of the arrest for protecting the rights of the unconscious accident victim. The Mayor of Salt Lake City issued an apology for the incident on behalf of the officer at the time.