Utah Police Detective Placed on Leave After Violently Detaining Nurse
A Utah police detective who violently detained a nurse in Salt Lake City after she refused to draw blood from an unconscious patient was placed on administrative leave on Friday.
Mayor Jackie Biskupski tweeted the news, saying she supported the decision to place Detective Jeff Payne on leave.
“We support the DA’s independent investigation into unacceptable actions at the UofU,” she tweeted. “We have placed SLCPD officer involved on leave. #utpol.”
Alex Wubbels showed the video during a Thursday press conference in an effort to show the public what she went through on July 26 after University of Utah Hospital’s policies prevented her from following Det. Payne’s orders, Deseret News reports.
“I just feel betrayed, I feel angry … I’m a health care worker. The only job I have is to keep my patients safe,” Wubbels said, according to the site. “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.”
The situation unfolded after a collision in northern Utah left one driver dead and another badly injured, according to The Salt Lake Tribune. Footage of the encounter showed Wubbels, Det. Payne and a pair of hospital security officers in the lobby as the head nurse explained to the men that hospital policy forbids her from taking blood from the unconscious patient without a warrant or the patient’s consent.
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After confirming the mandate with hospital officials and providing documented proof of the policy to the officer, Wubbel declared “I’m just trying to do what I’m supposed to do. That’s all.” A supervisor on Wubbel’s speakerphone told Payne, “Sir, you’re making a huge mistake right now.”
Payne is then shown grabbing Wubbels and, as the woman screamed, pulling her through the hospital doors before slamming her against a wall.
“You’re assaulting me! Stop! I’ve done nothing wrong!” Wubbels yelled. “What is happening? This is crazy! Why is he so angry?”
Payne is soon shown handcuffing the woman and placing her in the front seat of a police car. She was later released and was not charged with a crime, according to the Washington Post.
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Officials have launched an internal investigation.
In a written report, Payne alleged that he had been ordered by Salt Lake police Lt. James Tracy to arrest Wubbels for interfering with a police investigation, the Tribune reports. He said he wanted the blood sample to determine whether the injured truck driver had illicit substances in his system at the time of the crash.
There have been no claims or lawsuits filed in the case. However, Wubbels and her attorney Karra Porter have urged police officials to educate officers.
Neither Salt Lake Police Department officials nor Porter immediately responded to a request for comment from PEOPLE.