Utah officer fired for forcibly handcuffing nurse who defied him

Police body camera footage captured Payne erupting at nurse Alex Wubbels of the University of Utah Hospital on July 26 after she refused his request to draw blood from an unconscious truck driver who was involved in a head-on collision with a suspect fleeing police in another vehicle.

In the police video of the incident, Detective Jeff Payne handcuffed Wubbels and placed her in a police auto when she refused to allow officers to obtain a blood sample from a crash victim at the hospital without a warrant.

Mr. Payne's watch commander, James Tracy, was also demoted from lieutenant to officer for his role in the incident. His lawyer, Ed Brass, couldn't immediately be reached.

In a disciplinary letter, Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown said he was "deeply troubled" by Payne's conduct, which he described as "inappropriate, unreasonable, unwarranted, discourteous, disrespectful" and said brought "significant disrepute" on the department.

Body camera footage of Payne taking nurse Alexandra Wubbels into custody made headlines. 'Alex feels very strongly that her story would have never been told if it weren't for the body camera footage'.

Payne had previously been disciplined in 2013 after internal-affairs investigators confirmed that he sexually harassed a female co-worker in a "persistent and severe" way.

Police chief Mike Brown chose to terminate Payne's employment after reviewing information about the incident, records showed.

The officers have five business days to appeal the decisions by the chief.

Wubbels' attorney, Karra Porter, said they are pleased that Brown took action and recognized that the officers made crucial mistakes that have eroded public trust.

The Salt Lake County District Attorney's decision to not file charges has sparked public outrage, and numerous protests have been held calling for the decision to be overturned. The hospital responded by barring law enforcement from patient-care areas and direct contact with nurses. It would have been a he-said, she-said or multiple he-saids against a she-said.

"I honestly struggle to understand how detective Payne doesn't think that his conduct warrants termination". The video shows Wubbels screaming for him to nstop as he forced her out the door toward a police auto. How that dialogue goes will help determine what happens next, she said.

"The decision... is in keeping with the high level of accountability we owe the people of Salt Lake City", Mayor Jackie Biskupski explained, according to CNN.

Also of note in this case is Salt Lake City's focus on police de-escalation training.

"The responsibility of the council is to look at (whether) we have policies in place to prevent this from happening in the future".

I'm really frustrated by the way this case has been processed.

  • Jon Douglas