Utah Nurse Violently Detained by Cop Says Lawsuit Is 'Not Off the Table': 'There Needed to Be Accountability'
Alex Wubbels is speaking out after a Salt Lake City detective violently detained her for refusing to draw blood from an unconscious patient in July
A Utah nurse who was violently detained by police in July says she is considering filing a lawsuit in the wake of the incident that occurred after she refused to take a blood sample from an unconscious patient.
During a Monday appearance on the Today show, Alex Wubbels spoke out in her first interview about the headline-making video that chronicled the moments Salt Lake City Detective Jeff Payne dragged her from a hospital lobby.
“I released it because I felt very strongly that there needed to be accountability,” Wubbels said of the video. “I think this resonates with people all over, and that’s a really unfortunate problem that we have to fix.”
Wubbels played the video during a Thursday press conference, revealing what happened on July 26 after she refused to allow Payne to draw blood from an unconscious patient who was suspected in a fatal crash. During the encounter, Wubbels firmly told the detective that both federal law and the University of Utah Hospital’s policies prevented her from letting him have access to the patient’s blood.
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, Payne and a pair of hospital security officers in the lobby as she 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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Appearing frustrated with Wubbels’ stance, Payne is then shown grabbing Wubbels and pulling her through the hospital doors before slamming her against a wall. Payne is shown handcuffing the nurse 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.
“I personally didn’t think there was any sense of urgency,” Wubbels told Today of the encounter. “I would have liked for a chance for him to sort of talk with one of his superiors prior to doing what he did to me. I don’t know what his problem was.”
Now, both Wubbels and her attorney Karra Porter have said that a lawsuit is “not off the table.” However, both stressed that their priority it making sure policy policy changes.
“Nothing, by any means, has been off the table,” Wubbels said. She added of the incident: “This can’t be happening. It should never have happened. And, if I have anything to say about it, it won’t ever happen again.’
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Payne has been placed on administrative leave, with Mayor Jackie Biskupski calling Payne’s actions “unacceptable.”
In a written report, Payne alleged that he had been ordered by Salt Lake City 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.
Neither Salt Lake Police Department officials nor Porter immediately responded to a request for comment from PEOPLE.