Utah nurse arrested for not giving police patient blood sample

September 2, 2017 3:20 pm
A nurse in the state of was forcibly arrested by a police officer last month for refusing to allow him to obtain a sample of an unconscious patient’s blood because he had neither a warrant nor the patient’s consent.
A Utah official said on Friday that prosecutors have launched an investigation and will consider criminal charges against the officer after footage of the assault emerged.
The incident occurred on July 26, but the video was only made public on Thursday at a conference held by the nurse and her lawyer in Salt Lake City.
The video captured by police body cameras and the University Hospital in Salt Lake City show Alex Wubbels screaming for help as she is dragged out of the medical center and handcuffed.
The images show Wubbels consulting with colleagues and showing the waiting officers a printout of the hospital’s policy before being arrested.
A spokeswoman for hospital said the nurse was detained for around 20 minutes in a police car before being released after administrative staff intervened.
“I‘m just trying to do what I‘m supposed to do, that’s all,” Wubbels told the officers, noting that they did not meet any of those criteria.
One officer, identified in media reports as Detective Jeff Payne, appeared angered and grabbed at Wubbels before gripping her around her torso. “We’re done,” Payne said. “You’re under arrest.”
Salt Lake County District attorney Sim Gill issued a statement Friday calling for a full criminal investigation.
“Injustice against one is an injustice against all. Everyone deserves a fair process and institutional accountability is our collective responsibility,” he said.
Salt Lake City police chief Mike Brown said he was “alarmed” by the footage and that an internal affairs investigation had been launched.
“To date, we have suspended the officer from the blood draw program. We have already replaced our blood draw policy with a new policy,” he added.
Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski called the incident “completely unacceptable” and extended an apology to Wubbels for her ordeal.
A protest was planned for Saturday by Utah Against Police Brutality. “Payne is clearly incapable of even basic moral reasoning, and he must be fired,” the group said in a statement posted on Twitter.
US police departments have been under heightened scrutiny in recent years over their use of excessive force and fatal shootings.
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