In July, a Utah nurse, Alex Wubbels, was arrested by Detective Jeff Payne of the Salt Lake City Police Department for refusing to allow him to take a blood sample from an unconscious person involved in a crash brought on by a police chase. Yet, the patient was not a suspect, but a victim, who happened to be a reserve police officer in Idaho. He could not consent for a blood sample. There was no probable cause for one, so no warrant. The Supreme Court was quite clear on this issue and Payne, being part of the police’s phlebotomy unit, had to have known that. The policy is clear. The law is clear. Nevertheless, Wubbels was manhandled by Payne and arrested. It was all captured on video.
The fallout was nothing short of a total fiasco. The FBI got involved. The mayor of Salt Lake City and its chief of police issued apologies to Wubbels. The local district attorney opened a criminal investigation as well. Now, weeks after the disturbing footage was made public, Payne has been fired. He was notified on Tuesday (via The Hill):
The Utah police officer who was filmed forcibly arresting a nurse who refused to let officers take a blood sample from an unconscious patient has been fired, The Associated Press reported Tuesday.
A Salt Lake City Police spokesman told the AP that police chief Mike Brown decided to fire the officer on Tuesday after an investigation into the incident.
The officer, Detective Jeff Payne, was seen on film dragging a crying nurse out of the University of Utah Medical Center in Salt Lake City after she prevented law enforcement from taking blood from an unconscious patient.