A video that went viral about a month back of a nurse being forcibly arrested by a Utah Officer for doing her job has now been fired from their line of duty.
In the video that made summer headlines, a police body camera recorded the July 26 arrest of Alex Wubbels, a nurse at the University of Utah’s hospital burn unit.
From the footage, Detective Jeff Payne handcuffed Wubbels and placed her in a police car when she refused to allow officers to obtain a blood sample from a crash victim at the hospital without a warrant.
Wubbels screamed for him to stop as he forced her out of the door and dragged her to a police car.
A few minutes later after the incident, she was released without being charged.
Payne lost his job and James Tracy, his watch commander, was demoted two ranks from lieutenant to officer.
“I have lost faith and confidence in your ability to continue to serve as a member of the Salt Lake City Police Department,” Chief Mike Brown wrote in a letter to Payne, who had served with the department for 27 years.
“I am deeply troubled by your lack of sound, professional judgment and your discourteous, disrespectful and unwarranted behavior, which unnecessarily escalated a situation that could and should have been resolved in a manner far different from the course of action you chose to pursue.”
Brown also added that Tracy made an impulsive decision when he ordered Payne to arrest Wubbels without “fully understanding the nature of the situation and, as such, violated policy,” according to his disciplinary letter, which was also obtained by the Deseret News.
Payne’s attorney, Greg Skordas, said his client plans to appeal the firing, which he called unfair and over the top, according to The Associated Press.
Skordas said Payne would still be employed if the body camera footage hadn’t generated so much attention and blown the events out of proportion, the AP reported.
Wubbels’s lawyer, Karra Porter, told the Deseret News this month: “If detective Payne does not believe this is a fireable offense, then I’m glad detective Payne will not be out on the street in uniform tomorrow.”
Wubbels told reporters at a news conference in September, a few months after the incident: “The only job I have as a nurse is to keep my patients safe. “Blood is your blood. That’s your property.”
The University of Utah said it has since introduced a new policy on blood samples, barring officers from coming to the hospital in person to seek them.
As strong as Wubbels was in her job as a nurse, the need for coverage and the threat of unemployment or unavoidable circumstances can make things like insurance just as important.