A Salt Lake City police detective is under fire for a violent encounter with a hospital nurse at the University of Utah Hospital’s burn unit.
On July 26, Detective Jeff Payne was sent to collect blood from an unconscious patient who was involved in a collision.
The officers’ body cameras showed an officer arguing with nurse Alex Wubbels over the matter. At one point, Wubbels consults with a supervisor on speakerphone.
Payne had no warrant for a blood sample and no consent from the patient, who was not under arrest, according to a report from The Washington Post, which also said that, under the US Constitution and hospital regulations, police would be barred from collecting blood from the patient.
The US Supreme Court also ruled that “blood can only be drawn from drivers for probable cause, with a warrant,” according to The Post.
“This is something that you guys agreed to with this hospital,” Wubbels could be heard saying in the video. “The three things that allow us to do that are if you have an electronic warrant, patient consent, or patient under arrest.”
Payne threatened to arrest Wubbels if she continued to refuse his request. “Sir,” the supervisor said over the phone, “you’re making a huge mistake because you’re threatening a nurse.”
“OK,” Payne said, as he walked towards Wubbels. “No, we’re done.”
Wubbels lets out a scream and she is forced out of the hospital, where she was pushed against the wall and handcuffed.
“Help me! Stop! You’re assaulting me,” Wubbels yelled. “Stop! I’ve done nothing wrong! This is crazy!”
Payne has since been suspended from the police department’s blood-draw unit but remains on active duty, The Post reported. Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown was reportedly aware of the incident and called it “very alarming,” according to the Deseret News.
Wubbels, who has worked at the hospital for eight years, said she was not pursuing legal action at this time.
“I just feel betrayed, I feel angry,” Wubbels said to Deseret News. “I feel a lot of things. And I am still confused. I’m a health care worker. The only job I have is to keep my patients safe.”
“A blood draw, it just gets thrown around like it’s some simple thing,” Wubbels continued. “But your blood is your blood. That’s your property.”
Watch video of the exchange below:
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