Utah nurse Alex Wubbels was correctly doing her job last week when she refused to give a patient’s blood to a police officer who showed up without a warrant, patient consent, or proof that the patient was under arrest. In spite of that, Salt Lake police detective Jeff Payne charged at her, roughly grabbed her, and arrested her. He dragged her screaming from her place of work and shoved her in the back of an unmarked car.
Nurse Wubbels did her job and followed the law.
Video of the whole incident shows Wubbels calmly telling Payne what he’d need to do to be able to legally obtain a patient’s blood sample. Instead of doing any of those things, Payne accused her of interfering with a criminal investigation. He roughly arrested her and dragged her screaming from the building. A hospital administrator had told Payne that Wubbels was right, and they could not release the blood.
Wubbels screamed “Help me” and “you’re assaulting me” as he dragged her away in handcuffs. Again, she was properly following legal protocol.
Payne reportedly thought he had what was called “implied consent,” but that hasn’t been a legal reason for a hospital to surrender blood to police for three years. In 2016, the US Supreme Court ruled that a blood sample can’t be taken without patient consent or a warrant.
Now ABC News reports that Payne has been put on paid administrative leave. Prosecutors called for a criminal investigation. Police chief Mike Brown says the department will comply with the investigation.
Salt Lake City mayor Jackie Biskupski and police chief Brown both apologized to Wubbels. She says she’s accepted their apologies. Wubbels says she thinks they’re sincere.
The Internet was horrified when footage of Wubbels started circulating on the news and in social media. Wubbels hopes positive change will come from the incident and the exposure the video received.
Wubbels previously said she did not want to pursue civil action against the police, but she wanted to see an acknowledgement that there was a problem and a need for further education.
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(Image: screenshot / YouTube; Deseret News )