Police apologize to Utah nurse arrested in viral body camera video

Last Updated Sep 2, 2017 3:30 PM EDT

SALT LAKE CITY — Two Salt Lake City police officers have been placed on administrative leave as authorities investigate the arrest of a Utah nurse who refused to blood draw from an unconscious patient.

The Unified Police Department of Greater Salt Lake has opened a criminal investigation into the case involving officers from the Salt Lake City Police Department, CBS affiliate KUTV reports. The arresting officer, detective Jeff Payne, and an unidentified officer have been placed administrative leave for the duration of the probe.

Police Chief Mike Brown issued a joint statement with Mayor Jackie Biskupski on Friday, condemning the officer who arrested nurse Alex Wubbles.

“I was alarmed by what I saw in the video with our officer and Ms. Wubbles. I am sad at the rift this has caused between law-enforcement and the nurses we work so closely with,” Brown said, promising that his department would take steps to “ensure this will never happen again.”

The incident took place on July 26 and went viral Friday when body camera footage was released to the public. Wubbels can be seen speaking with Payne, explaining that she couldn’t allow a blood draw on a patient who had been injured in a car accident.

She tells Payne that the patient is required to be conscious to give consent, unless the patient is under arrest or if officers had a warrant, and that the parameters are spelled out in an agreement between the hospital and the department.  

Despite the warning, Payne is heard saying, “We are done. We are done. You are under arrest” as he takes her into custody.

“No medical professional in Salt Lake City should be hindered from performing their duties, and certainly not be fearful of the police officers they so often partner with to save lives,” Biskupski said in the statement Friday.

Biskupski said she ordered the department to conduct a review of “all policies and trainings to ensure respect” in future situations.

Wubbles told KUTV that she accepts the apology but hopes the video ensures that nothing like this ever happens again.

“I felt a duty to everyone that has ever had this happen to them that didn’t have the evidence that I have to show it, and it seemed like a good time to do it,” she said. “Clearly this is an issue that is bigger than just me.”

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